Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao arrived in Tokyo Sunday for a three day visit.

He started Monday with a run in Yoyogi Park, where he met other runners and asked them, “Do you know who I am?” (A bit of an odd question.) He also did some tai chi with other early risers.

It’s too bad he didn’t go running on Sunday, or he could have gotten a free hug:

That's a dude. Trust me, I'm from San Francisco.

Yeah, I didn’t ask for one either.

In talks with Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, the two leaders agreed to the following:

- A hotline between the two leaders, designed to decrease tensions, with the recent naval encounters in the vicinity of Okinawa cited as examples when they could be used. The hotline would be directly between the two executive offices. This sounds like a great idea, but as the Financial Times pointed out, this is the second such hotline, the first having been established in 2000 and falling into disuse as relations between Japan and China deteriorated.

- China suddenly perked up and wanted to immediately start negotiations on development of resources under the East China Sea. There’s been a framework for an agreement on the books for two years, but China has been dragging has been its feet on finalizing it.

In June 2008, Tokyo and Beijing agreed to jointly develop gas fields in the East China Sea. Under the accord, Japan will invest in the development of Shirakaba, one of the gas fields near the two countries’ territorial borders, and the two countries will conduct a joint survey on resources in the sea south of Asunaro, another field situated north of Shirakaba. The two countries are supposed to hold working-level talks aimed at signing an agreement on the details of their joint development, such as the specific areas and profit allocations.

Japan has repeatedly demanded that working-level consultations be convened, but China expressed reluctance on the grounds that an environment has not been created for such talks. (Link)

One month the Chinese are harassing the MSDF at sea with helicopters, the next they want to set up a hotline to prevent exactly those kinds of incidents. China agrees to jointly develop the East China Sea, drags its feet for two years, and then suddenly in May 2010 decides the matter is of great urgency. It’s a bit erratic. Perhaps Wen decided there’s been enough drama off China’s north coast, and that it’s time to dial back some of the tension. At any rate, it’s all welcome news.

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A contributor and editor at the blog War Is Boring, Kyle Mizokami started Japan Security Watch in 2010 to further understand Japan's defenses and security policy.
Kyle Mizokami has 596 post(s) on Japan Security Watch