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Visit to Taiwan by Japanese deputy minister draws criticism from Beijing

By Mo Jingxi | China Daily | Updated: 2017-03-28 07:03

China said on Monday that the recent visit of a high-level Japanese official to Taiwan has caused a "serious disturbance" to the improvement of China-Japan relations. Beijing strongly objected, lodging "solemn representations" with the Japanese.

Jiro Akama, deputy minister of Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, visited Taiwan on Saturday to attend a Japanese culture and tourism promotion event, according to Kyodo News Agency. The visit made him the most senior government official to visit the island since "diplomatic" ties were severed with Chinese Taipei in 1972.

"China is resolutely opposed to the visit and has lodged solemn representations with Japan," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily news conference in Beijing.

Hua said the Taiwan question is a major matter of principle that concerns the political foundation of China-Japan relations.

"The visit of an incumbent Japanese deputy minister to Taiwan obviously went against Japan's promises to maintain only nongovernmental and local levels of exchange with Taiwan," she said.

She also noted that while Japan said it respects its promises on the Taiwan question, it has been provocative in its practical actions, and "this has caused serious disturbance to the improvement of bilateral relations".

"The Taiwan question concerns China's core interests and cannot be challenged," Hua said. "Japan should recognize its seriousness and stop being two-faced and not go further on the wrong path."

Hua also asked the Japanese to face up to history and stop making trouble on territorial issues.

According to recently updated Japanese high school textbooks, China's Diaoyu Islands are repeatedly labeled as Japanese territory.

"No matter what the Japanese say or do, it cannot change the fact that the Diaoyu Islands belong to China," she said, adding that the Diaoyu and its associated islands are China's inherent territory, and China's resolution to safeguard territorial sovereignty is unshakable.

"We ask the Japanese side to face up to history and reality, educate the younger generation with a right view on history, and stop making trouble," she added.

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