Japan FM's 'China threat' remarks criticized
By Qin Jize (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-12-23 06:15
China yesterday criticized Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso for making
"extremely irresponsible" remarks about the so-called China threat.
"As a foreign minister, to incite such groundless rhetoric about China is
extremely irresponsible. What is the purpose?" asked Foreign Ministry spokesman
Qin Gang at a regular press conference.
Aso said earlier in the day that China
poses a "considerable threat" because of what he called its rising military
spending and nuclear weapons.
Minister Taro Aso delivers a speech at a meeting of Federation of Economic
Organizations, the Keidanren, in Tokyo, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2005.
He reportedly told a news conference in Tokyo that China's military build-up
has become a concern, given its "two-digit growth and lack of transparency."
Aso, appointed to the post in late October, echoed Seiji Maehara, head of
Japan's major opposition Democratic Party, who called China a "realistic threat"
after a three-day recent visit to the country.
Qin said China is determined to seek peaceful development and "has
contributed towards world's peace and stability, bringing great development
opportunities to eastern Asian countries including Japan."
Aso's comments came as the Chinese Government released a white paper
reiterating Beijing's commitment to peaceful development.
Qin said the document would help the international community better
understand China's goal of peaceful development and its stance on global issues.
Relations between China and Japan have been badly strained of late, with
Beijing angry over Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's repeated visits
to Yasukuni Shrine a symbol of militarism where Class-A criminals of World War
II are honoured.
Premier Wen Jiabao declined to meet Koizumi on the sidelines of an East Asian
summit earlier this month in Malaysia, urging Tokyo to properly atone for its
Wen said ties between China and Japan continue to be sour because the
Japanese leaders failed to correctly face up to the history.
In that summit, Wen also tried to ease neighbours' concern about China's
booming economy, saying that a fast developing China will benefit the entire
Referring to the prospect of holding Sino-Japanese foreign ministerial talks,
Qin said China is not responsible for the frosty bilateral relations and is in
favour of dialogue. However "it requires a suitable atmosphere and conditions."
Observers said Aso's statement could further fan trouble between the two
countries as the tension has blocked formal meetings between the top leaders
(China Daily 12/23/2005 page1)