China tells Japan to stay out of Hong Kong and Xinjiang issues

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China has urged Japan to avoid “internal problems,” including Hong Kong and Xinjiang, as Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga prepares to meet with US President Joe Biden later this month.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his counterpart, Toshimitsu Motegi, that he hoped Japan could treat China’s development from an “objective and rational” point of view, rather than being led by the pace of countries that are biased against China, according to a statement released Tuesday. Although Japan is an ally of the United States, it also has a peace and friendship treaty with China, the statement continued.

Motegi reiterated in the appeal Japan’s grave concern over a range of issues, including the situation in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, as well as China’s passing of a law allowing its coastguards to shoot at. foreign ships, Japan’s Foreign Ministry said in a separate statement.

Suga will become the first foreign leader to meet Biden in person since becoming president, underscoring the United States’ willingness to strengthen ties with allies in the region as it tries to pressure China over articles ranging from human rights to commerce to investigate the origins of the coronavirus.

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Suga has come under pressure from some members of his own ruling party who want Japan to follow other major democracies in imposing sanctions on Chinese officials over allegations of forced labor in Xinjiang, especially ahead of the White House summit. April 16 and the Group of Seven summit in the UK in June. A group of multi-party human rights lawmakers were due to hold their inaugural meeting later Tuesday.

Japan has found it increasingly difficult to balance its relations with the United States, its only military ally, and China, its main trading partner. Japan has stepped up its rhetoric as the Biden administration signals a renewed interest in human rights in foreign policy, but it lacks a legal framework to impose sanctions.

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Asked about sanctions from other countries during a press briefing in Tokyo on Tuesday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said that “the goal is to improve the human rights situation. Every country will decide from its own point of view whether this is effective. ” He added that Japan should constantly assess the need for its own sanctions law.

The US, Canada, EU and UK have all imposed sanctions on China for human rights violations against the Uyghur ethnic group in far west Xinjiang, prompting groups of lawmakers to call on Japan to follow suit.

Motegi and Wang’s phone call was the first time the two ministers have had talks since Wang visited Japan in November. The 90-minute conversation came at the request of China, the Japanese ministry said.

During the talks, the two men affirmed international coordination to deal with the coup in Myanmar and the army’s bloody crackdowns on protesters in the Southeast Asian country. They also agreed that it was important for members of the international community to fully implement UN sanctions against North Korea in order to promote the country’s denuclearization.

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Wang expressed support for Tokyo’s efforts to resolve the kidnappings of Japanese nationals by Pyongyang in the 1970s and 1980s.

While agreeing to deepen consultations on global issues such as the novel coronavirus and climate change, the two ministers affirmed coordination to ensure a fair and equitable business environment between Asia’s two largest economies, according to the ministry. Japanese Foreign Office.

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