China summons Japanese ambassador over Abe’s Taiwan comments

Dec 2, 2021: The Chinese Foreign Ministry summoned Japan’s ambassador to Beijing for an “emergency meeting” on Wednesday evening when former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that if China invaded Taiwan, neither his country nor the United Stateswould stand by.

According to a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement, Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Hua Chenying called Abe’s remarks “erroneous” in a meeting with Ambassador Hideo Taromi and violated the basic principles of Sino-Japanese relations.

Abe’s remarks “openly challenged China’s sovereignty and brazenly aided Taiwan’s independence forces,”  according to Hua.

Speaking during a virtual address with the Institute for National Policy Research, a think tank in Taiwan, Abe on Wednesday warned of the serious security and economic consequences of any Chinese military action against Taiwan and urged Beijing not “stray on to wrong path.” .

“Military adventures will lead to economic suicide,” the veteran politician added. He described the Chinese attack on Taiwan as a “significant threat” to Japan and therefore “an emergency for the Japan-US alliance”.

“People in Beijing, especially President Xi Jinping, should never misunderstand this.”

Asked about the summons at a regular press briefing in Tokyo on Thursday, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said Japan did not agree with China’s move because the Japanese government was not in a position to comment on remarks by people not in government. 

“It is important for China to understand that there are people in Japan who hold such views and that Japan cannot accept China’s one-sided views on such issues,” Matsuno said.

Abe, who resigned as prime minister last year, is the leader of the largest faction of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and is influential within the party.

China claims sovereign Taiwan as part of its territory and has not ruled out the use of force to occupy the island, which was once a Japanese colony.

Since Tsai Ing-wen was elected president in 2016, Beijing has stepped up its claims, sending a record number of military aircraft to Taiwan’s air defense identification zone in October.

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