Tokyo’s alliance with Washington must not undermine Beijing’s interests and Japan should take practical steps to show goodwill towards China, the Chinese ambassador to Tokyo has warned.
The warning from Chinese envoy Kong Xuanyou comes after Japan has appeared more vocal in its support for the United States’ efforts to work with its traditional allies to contain China over a range of issues, from human rights to regional security.
“Japan’s dismissive attitude towards Taiwan, Xinjiang and Hong Kong is especially apparent these days, and has seriously disturbed China-Japan relations,”the Chinese foreign ministry quoted Kong as saying at a forum held by the International Academic Society for Asian Community on Friday.
“[We] hope Japan, as China’s close neighbour, will uphold its promises, and express basic respect for China’s domestic issues, and stop hurting China’s core interests, and avoid further damaging the bilateral relationship.”
He said China had never asked Japan to pick sides between China and the US, and had never intervened in Japan’s development of relations with the US.
“But the Japan-US alliance must not harm China’s interests,” Kong said.
“We hope Japan will make practical moves that display hopes for developing a stable relationship with China.”
Kong also again took aim at “small groupings disguised as a form of multilateralism but are in fact exclusive in terms of ideologies”, a reference to the US’ renewed cooperation with the “Quad”, a strategic grouping between the US, Japan, Australia and India. He said such “fake multilateralism” would undermine peace in the region.
China and Japan have stressed the need for economic cooperation and trade growth between the two countries but Tokyo has also stepped up its rhetoric against Beijing.
In the past few months, several senior Japanese officials have broken with Tokyo’s traditionally neutral position to show support for Taiwan, prompting Beijing to accuse it of gross interference in China’s affairs. Beijing regards the self-ruled island as a renegade province, to be reunited with the mainland by force if necessary.
Tensions have also been escalating for months over alleged human rights violations in Xinjiang and Hong Kong and maritime disputes in the East China Sea, where the two countries are at odds over a group of Japanese-controlled uninhabited islands known as the Diaoyu Islands in China and the Senkakus in Japan.
In addition, China introduced a coastguard law in January that allows its coastguard to fire at foreign vessels, fuelling concerns in Japan.