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China summons Japan's ambassador over Taiwan comments

December 2, 2021

China's ministry of foreign affairs said it had summoned Tokyo's envoy. The Japanese ambassador was scolded over comments made by former prime minister Shinzo Abe regarding Taiwan.

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Tokyo's envoy to Beijing was summoned Wednesday over remarks made by former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in support of TaiwanImage: Getty Images/T. Ohsumi

In Tokyo Thursday, Japan's chief cabinet secretary offered minimal comment on remarks made by former prime minister Shinzo Abe regarding Taiwan the day after a diplomatic row broke out between China and Japan over the matter.

Beijing said it called in Japan's ambassador Hideo Tarumi Wednesday evening in response to the comments made by Abe.

"It is necessary for China to understand there are people in Japan who have such opinions and Japan cannot accept China's one-sided views on such matters," chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said.

What did Shinzo Abe say about Taiwan?

In a video speech at an event hosted by a think tank in Taiwan Wednesday, Abe said an emergency in Taipei would also be judged as one in Tokyo. He noted the US and Japan were willing to defend Taiwan.

"People in Beijing, particularly President Xi Jinping, should not misjudge that," he warned.

"A military adventure would be a path leading to economic suicide," Abe added.

How did China react?

In a statement released by the ministry of foreign affairs and attributed to deputy foreign minister Hua Chunying, Beijing said Tokyo's envoy had been summoned over Abe's "irresponsible" remarks which presented a "brutal intervention" in China's internal affairs.

The ministry cautioned Japan should not "underestimate the determination and strength of the Chinese people."

Hua, the statement said, made "stern representations" during the meeting.

Where does Taiwan stand?

Since 1949, Taiwan has had its own government apart from Beijing. China views the island as part of its territory and opposes any diplomatic contact between other countries and Taipei.

Since 2016, Beijing has ramped up pressure on Taiwan following the election of President Tsai Ing-wen. She rejects Beijing's position that "one China" includes Taiwan.

Unlike Beijing, Taipei is a democracy. Taiwanese people live under the threat of military invasion, with saying it will not rule out force to reunite with the island.

In recent months, Beijing has sent a historic number of war planes on sorties into Taiwan's air defense identification zone.

ar/rc (AFP, dpa, Reuters)