'Don't help a villain', China urges Japan not to back US tech restriction as the two countries' foreign ministers hold talks

China is also opposing Japan's move to discharge nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean
Last Updated 02 April 2023, 17:29 IST

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang on Sunday urged his Japanese counterpart Yoshimasa Hayashi not to "help a villain do evil" by backing the US tech restrictions against Beijing as the two ministers held rare talks here amid China's increasing criticism against Tokyo's backing for Washington-led Indo-Pacific strategy.

The United States "used bullying tactics to brutally suppress the Japanese semiconductor industry, and now it is repeating its old tricks against China", Qin told Hayashi.

"Japan has suffered that pain, and should not help a villain do evil. The containment will only further stimulate China's determination to become self-reliant," Qin said, according to the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post.

The talks between the two ministers took place two days after Japan announced it would restrict semiconductor equipment exports from July, following months of lobbying by the US.

The two countries should "overcome obstacles and move forward", Qin said, adding that "clique-forming” and containment was “not helpful” to managing conflicts, in an apparent reference to Japan's backing for the Indo-Pacific strategy.

China opposes the Quad comprising the US, India, Japan and Australia, saying that it is aimed to contain its rise.

"Peaceful coexistence and friendly cooperation are the only correct choices for China-Japan relations,” he said.

"In the face of contradictions and differences, forming cliques, exerting pressure through rhetoric will not help solve the problem, but will only deepen the estrangement between each other," he said.

"(We) hope that Japan will establish a correct understanding of China, show political wisdom and responsibility, and work together with China to strengthen dialogue and communication, and promote practical cooperation,” he said.

This was the first visit by the Japanese Foreign Minister to China since 2019.

China and Japan have a long-festering dispute over uninhabited East China Sea islands controlled by Japan but claimed by China.

The islands are called the Senkakus by Japan, while China named them as Diaoyu.

Taiwan also claims the islands but has forged agreements with Japan to avoid any conflict as Japan maintains close defence ties with Taipei.

Ahead of Hayashi’s visit, China and Japan on Friday set up a military hotline to strengthen their capability of managing and controlling maritime and air incidents arising out of their aggressive patrolling of the disputed waters in the East China Sea.

Hayashi said the two countries were neighbours separated by “a narrow strip of water”.

China is also opposing Japan's move to discharge nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean.

Qin asked his Japanese counterpart to handle the disposal responsibly, as it is a major issue concerning public health and the safety of humanity.

On the question of Taiwan, which Beijing claims is part of it, Qin said it is the very core of the core interests of China, which bears on the political foundation of China-Japan relations. He asked Tokyo to refrain from interfering in the Taiwan question or undermining China's sovereignty in any form.

In the case of a Japanese citizen suspected of engaging in espionage activities in China, Qin stressed China would handle it following relevant laws.

According to Japanese media reports, Hayashi’s talks with Qin lasted around four hours, longer than the planned two and a half hours. The two also agreed to resume trilateral dialogue with South Korea.

Hayashi also met Premier Li Qiang and had dinner with top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi.

(Published 02 April 2023, 17:05 IST)

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