China summons Japan's ambassador over G7's statements

Friday, May 26, 2023

Tarumi with Chinese diplomat Cao Lubao in February.
Image: Embassy of Japan in China.

China's Foreign Ministry summoned Japan's ambassador to it, Hideo Tarumi, on Sunday to protest claimed "hype around China-related issues", after the Group of 7 (G7), meeting in Hiroshima, Japan, commented on matters Beijing considered "internal affairs".

The ministry described Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong as stating China's "strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition" to the G7's statements.

Sun accused Japan, chair of the G7 summit, of joining other nations "to smear and attack China, grossly interfering in China's internal affairs, violating the basic principles of international law and the spirit of the four political documents between China and Japan [the 1972 Japan—China Joint Statement]".

Tarumi's office said he described the statements to Sun as "only natural" and on issues of mutual interest: "If China does not want these issues to be referenced, it should first respond more positively".

While expressing concern about China's behaviour, G7 leaders stated: "Our policy approaches are not designed to harm China nor do we seek to thwart China's economic progress and development...[we are not] decoupling or turning inwards".

Sun said Taiwan, a self-governing island China has called a breakaway state and not ruled out deploying its military to capture, was part of "the core of China's core interests" and "a red line that must not be crossed". The G7 rebuked China for "militarisation" of the South China Sea and said "peace and stability" in the Taiwan Strait was "indispensable" to maintaining such globally.

The G7 described China as willing to use economic coercion in disputes and stated its intent to "reduce excessive dependencies [on China] in our critical supply chains".

The G7 condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine; Russia called the summit an "incubator" for antipathy to it and ally China.

On Monday, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary, Hirokazu Matsuno, described its positions on China as consistent, saying Japan would seek to cooperate on mutual concerns while promoting responsible actions.

Moritz Rudolf, a Yale University Paul Tsai China Center scholar and fellow, said: "Beijing's reaction (especially the early timing of its release) underlines that tensions in the region are already quite high and likely to increase further".