World

Chinese defense minister pledges more dialogue to manage territorial conflicts

  • Chinese military officers gather at a hotel where foreign security officials are attending the Xiangshan Forum are staying in  Beijing, China, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014. The Xiangshan Forum is a biennial security forum hosted by China since 2006 and this year’s meeting gathers more than 20 senior security official including Malaysia’s Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and former political leaders like former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

    Chinese military officers gather at a hotel where foreign security officials are attending the Xiangshan Forum are staying in Beijing, China, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014. The Xiangshan Forum is a biennial security forum hosted by China since 2006 and this year’s meeting gathers more than 20 senior security official including Malaysia’s Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and former political leaders like former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)  (The Associated Press)

  • Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, left, gives a talk near Singapore's Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen, seated second left, and Malaysia’s Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, seated third left, during a banquet on the eve of the Xiangshan Forum in Beijing, China, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014. The Xiangshan Forum is a biennial security forum hosted by China since 2006 and this year’s meeting gathers more than 20 senior security official including Hishammuddin and former political leaders like Rudd. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

    Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, left, gives a talk near Singapore's Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen, seated second left, and Malaysia’s Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, seated third left, during a banquet on the eve of the Xiangshan Forum in Beijing, China, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014. The Xiangshan Forum is a biennial security forum hosted by China since 2006 and this year’s meeting gathers more than 20 senior security official including Hishammuddin and former political leaders like Rudd. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)  (The Associated Press)

  • Hostesses wait to serve security officials gathered on the eve of the Xiangshan Forum in  Beijing, China, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014. The Xiangshan Forum is a biennial security forum hosted by China since 2006 and this year’s meeting gathers more than 20 senior security official including Malaysia’s Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and former political leaders such as former Australian Prime Minister Kelvin Rudd. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

    Hostesses wait to serve security officials gathered on the eve of the Xiangshan Forum in Beijing, China, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014. The Xiangshan Forum is a biennial security forum hosted by China since 2006 and this year’s meeting gathers more than 20 senior security official including Malaysia’s Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and former political leaders such as former Australian Prime Minister Kelvin Rudd. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)  (The Associated Press)

China's defense minister said Friday he wants to enhance dialogue to manage disputes with his country's neighbors, sounding a conciliatory note after several months of sharpened confrontations over territorial claims on land and at sea.

Chang Wanquan said in a speech to a security forum in Beijing that China is considering opening defense hotlines with its Southeast Asian neighbors. Four of those countries, including Vietnam and the Philippines, are involved in disputes with Beijing over islands and waters in the South China Sea that have raised regional tensions over the past year.

Chang's comments at a Chinese-sponsored international security forum underscore China's recent attempts to project a less confrontational image. Beijing is also at odds with Japan and India over territory, but has lately worked to lower frictions.

"The key is to strengthen management and effectively prevent and resolve crises," Chang told participants at the gathering known as the Xiangshan Forum.