Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Monday that Japan must not "obscure" its stance on the Taiwan issue, demanding that Tokyo respect the principle that Beijing is the sole legitimate government of China.
The remarks in a video message at a symposium held in Tokyo came as tensions have grown over Taiwan following a trip in early August by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the third-highest-ranking U.S. official, to the self-ruled democratic island, which China views as a breakaway province to be reunified with the mainland, by force if necessary.
"Important matters of the principles related to the basis of the China-Japan relationship, such as history and Taiwan, must not be obscured not even slightly," Wang said in the video message at the event ahead of the 50th anniversary later this month of the normalization of ties between the two countries.
China and Taiwan have been governed separately since they split in 1949 due to a civil war. Japan cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan and established them with mainland China in 1972, recognizing Beijing as the sole legitimate government of China. Japan-Taiwan relations have been maintained on a nongovernmental basis.
China and Japan should put "the political consensus of not becoming a threat against each other" into action "based on strategic and long-term perspectives," Wang said in the message at the event hosted by the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo and the Japan Business Federation, the country's most influential business lobby better known as Keidanren.
The Chinese minister also indicated his wariness about Japan getting further involved in attempts by the United States to decouple its economy from China in industries deemed essential to national security, saying Tokyo and Beijing need to avoid "wrong ways such as decoupling and cutting supply chains."
Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi also sent a video message to the event without making any specific reference to diplomatic concerns between the two countries.
Hayashi said it is a "common goal" for the two East Asian neighbors to build "constructive and stable" bilateral relations through voluntary efforts.
Wang and Hayashi had been set to hold a meeting, the first foreign ministerial meeting by the two nations since November 2020, in Phnom Penh in early August on the sidelines of an Asian foreign ministers' gathering.
But Wang canceled the talks at the last minute, citing criticism leveled at China by the Group of Seven industrialized nations, including Japan, over Beijing's response to Pelosi's trip.
Pelosi's visit prodded China to conduct large-scale, live-fire drills near the island, including firing ballistic missiles, some of which fell into Japan's exclusive economic zone.
Chinese Ambassador to Japan Kong Xuanyou and former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda also attended the symposium.