Thursday, March 23, 2023
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China attacks Japan on disputed island, past history, says Tokyo-Seoul should not form blocs

Beijing: China on Thursday launched a dual diplomatic attack on Japan, countering Tokyo’s territorial claims in East China Sea (ECS) as a violation of Chinese sovereignty and calling Japanese militarisation as “very dangerous”, which deserves “high vigilance” from the international community.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol (left) and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida shake hands, ahead of their bilateral meeting at the Prime Minister's Office, in Tokyo, Japan, on Thursday. (AP)
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol (left) and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida shake hands, ahead of their bilateral meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office, in Tokyo, Japan, on Thursday. (AP)

The twin responses from the Chinese foreign and defence ministries came in the backdrop of the latest round of tension between the two countries over disputed islands in the ECS where Japan’s military on Wednesday accused Chinese coast guard vessels of violating Japanese territorial waters.

While China calls the islands Diaoyu, Japan calls them Senkaku.

The salvo also came on a day when South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol met his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida in Tokyo after a gap of 12 years in an attempt to put up a joint front against North Korea, and, of course, with a sharp focus on China.

In Beijing, Chinese spokespersons targetted Japan on two fronts.

“Chinese coast guard vessels carried out law enforcement on the scene in accordance with the law, it is a legitimate measure to safeguard Chinese sovereignty,” spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters at a press briefing on Thursday.

China Marine Police spokesperson Gan Yu, was quoted by Reuters, as saying that coast guard vessels entered the waters of Diaoyu for a “normal rights protection patrol” calling it a “routine move”.

“(This also) is a strong countermeasure to the Japanese side’s intrusion of one yacht and several patrol vessels into our territorial waters,” Gan said, according to Reuters, though he did not specify any incident.

Separately, the Chinese defence ministry launched a tirade against its Japanese counterpart for saying China’s defence budget has been growing at a high rate for a long time, causing serious concern for Japan and the international community.

The Japanese defence ministry spokesperson also urged China to improve the transparency in its defence policy and military affairs.

The Chinese defence ministry responded by saying Japan should learn from history.

“Japan should earnestly learn from history, and speak and act cautiously in the military security field,” Senior Colonel Tan Kefei, a spokesperson for China’s defence ministry, said on Thursday.

Tan was referring to Japan’s history in the world wars and its history of occupation and violence in China.

After renouncing war in the aftermath of that history and not having a military for decades, Japan last year unveiled a five-year $315 billion military expansion, which experts say is aimed at deterring China.

Tan said that Japan’s “…tendency to resume the path of militarisation is very dangerous and deserves high vigilance from the international community and countries in the region”.

“China urges the Japanese side to learn from history, act cautiously in the field of military security and stop doing things that undermine regional peace and stability,” Tan said according to the official website of the Chinese defence ministry.

China on Japan-South Korea summit

“China opposes exclusive blocs of individual countries and hopes that the relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea (The name China uses for South Korea) can develop in a direction conducive to regional peace, stability, and prosperity,” Wang said, according to official news agency Xinhua.

“As a close neighbour of the two countries, China has noted the recent interactions between Japan and the ROK and the changes in their relations,” Wang said.

“Past experience, if not forgotten, is a guide for the future,” Wang said, according to the Xinhua report.

Wang added China has always asked Japan to deeply reflect on its history of aggression, properly handle historical issues in an honest and responsible manner, and develop normal state-to-state relations with its Asian neighbours on this basis.

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