The new Chinese ambassador to Japan said Friday that bilateral relations are "at a critical juncture" as the two Asian powers remain at odds over Taiwan and other key issues.

During a press conference at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo, Wu Jianghao warned that Japan should not interfere in Beijing's dealings with Taiwan, calling them China's "genuine internal affairs."

Chinese Ambassador to Japan Wu Jianghao attends a press conference at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo on April 28, 2023. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

The view that Taiwan is connected to Japan's security is "absurd and baseless," said Wu, known as an expert on Japan who previously served as Chinese assistant foreign minister before assuming his current position last month.

Wu said Beijing hopes for the peaceful reunification of Taiwan with the mainland, but did not rule out the possibility of using force, saying it will work as "deterrence against the independence of Taiwan and assurance of cross-strait peace and stability."

Communist-led China regards self-ruled democratic Taiwan as a province to be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary. Attempts to forcibly seize the island would be a concern for Tokyo, given its proximity to Japan's remote southwestern islands.

The ambassador made the remarks as the Group of Seven major democracies have affirmed the importance of peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait in recent years.

The 59-year-old envoy also expressed his objection to "confrontations between the blocs," as the rift between the G-7 and the China-Russia camp has deepened following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, which began in February 2022.

Wu, meanwhile, said he would support Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's vision of a world without nuclear weapons, expected to be a topic at the G-7 summit scheduled to be held next month in Hiroshima, devastated by a U.S. atomic bomb in 1945.

Wu also weighed in on the detention in March of a senior male employee of Japanese pharmaceutical company Astellas Pharma Inc., saying China's "sovereignty was infringed by espionage activities," rejecting Tokyo's demand for the employee's early release.

Regarding bilateral ties, Wu emphasized that China has "no intention of treating Japan as an enemy."

He said Japanese animation films, such as "The First Slam Dunk" and "Suzume," are more popular in China than in Japan, and he hoped efforts would be made to promote people-to-people and cultural exchanges between the two nations.

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