China incensed after Japan’s Prime Minister, opposition leader call Taiwan ‘a country’

China expressed “strong dissatisfaction with erroneous remarks” in response to statements made in Japan’s parliamentary body yesterday referring to Taiwan as a country, according to Beijing Daily.

Both the Prime Minister of Japan, Yoshihide Suga, and the leader of the opposition, Yukio Edano, made comments using the word “country” when referring to Taiwan in the Japanese Diet yesterday, Wednesday, June 9.

Prime Minister Suga, speaking about epidemic prevention efforts in overseas countries cited the examples of Australia, New Zealand, and Taiwan, saying “these countries very strongly curbed people’s rights,” [as part of epidemic prevention efforts].

Yukio Edano said that “Taiwan is a successful country” in curbing the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic.

The Japanese government has previously by convention always referred to Taiwan as “a region” since recognizing the People’s Republic of China in 1972.

At a regular press briefing today, Thursday, June 10, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin decried the Japanese Prime Minister’s remarks, saying that Suga “broke Japan’s long-standing promise not to regard Taiwan as a country.”

Wang said that China has “lodged solemn representations” with the Japanese government and “China demands that Japan make an immediate clarification to undo the harm already caused” by the statements.

Wang also demanded a guarantee that a similar incident will never happen again.

Wang pointed out that the topic of Taiwan “concerns the political foundation of China-Japan relations,” and said that the statements violated “the principles of the China-Japan joint statement.

Wang demanded Tokyo keep its promises, be cautious with words and actions, and “not damage China’s sovereignty in any way,” and “not send wrong signals to Taiwan independence forces in any form.”

Japan’s Foreign Minister, Toshimitsu Motegi also recently referred to Taiwan as a country when discussing Japan’s donation of more than one million doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Taiwan, June 3.

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