China warned Japan against “being led astray again,” after its former Prime Minister Taro Aso said his country, the US and Taiwan must show Beijing their “resolve to fight” to deter any possible invasion.
(Bloomberg) — China warned Japan against “being led astray again,” after its former Prime Minister Taro Aso said his country, the US and Taiwan must show Beijing their “resolve to fight” to deter any possible invasion.
Aso’s “balderdash severely interfered in China’s internal affairs and undermined stability in the Taiwan Strait,” the Chinese embassy in Tokyo said a statement posted on its WeChat account Wednesday.
The Foreign Ministry in Beijing later issued another statement, slamming Aso for what it called “irresponsible remarks that sought to hype up cross-Strait tensions, stoke antagonism and confrontation, and blatantly interfere in China’s internal affairs.”
Japan has increasingly leaned toward support for Taiwan in recent years and tightened its defense ties with the US, sowing tensions with China, which claims Taiwan. The visit by Aso, who remains a powerful figure in Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party and currently serves as its vice president, comes just months before Taiwan’s presidential election, where ties with the mainland are a central issue.
Read More: Former Japan PM Aso Calls for Show of Strength in Taiwan Strait
China has made serious representations to Japan and strongly condemns Aso’s remarks, China’s Foreign Ministry added.
At a security forum in Taipei on Tuesday, Aso said that Taiwan and Japan, along with their allies, need defense capabilities as a deterrence.
“There has never been a time like now when Japan, Taiwan, the United States and other like-minded countries need to resolve to put into action a strong deterrence,” Aso told the forum, according to Japan’s Kyodo News. “This is a resolve to fight.”
Aso’s visit came as a Taiwan coastguard vessel made a rare port call in Japan and docked at Harumi Wharf in Tokyo “for routine maintenance and supply,” the South China Morning Posted reported.
Amid this week’s tensions, the Japanese newspaper Nikkei reported that China is planning to lift its ban on group tours to Japan as soon as Thursday, citing unidentified people — though it’s unclear whether the move may be affected by the flap over Aso’s comments.
In the Foreign Ministry statement, China also referred to Japan’s acts during World War II and before on Taiwan and the mainland, calling on Tokyo to “deeply reflect on its history of aggression.”
“China is no longer what it was when the Qing government signed the Treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895, and what makes this Japanese politician think he is in a position or has the confidence to make such unwarranted remarks on Taiwan?” the ministry said.
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