China Cancels Japan Meeting Over G-7’s Taiwan Statement

·2 min read

(Bloomberg) -- China said it called off a face-to-face meeting between Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Japanese counterpart over a Group of Seven statement expressing concern about Beijing’s “threatening actions” around Taiwan in the wake of a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

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Beijing had earlier announced the meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, which had been expected as early as Thursday on the sidelines of an Association of Southeast Asian Nations gathering in Cambodia. Pelosi is set to have talks in Tokyo on Friday with senior Japanese lawmakers.

The Defense Ministry in Tokyo later said that five missiles fired by China on Thursday as part of military drills near Taiwan to protest Pelosi’s visit were thought to have landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone. Four of those likely passed over Taiwan, Japan said.

Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said it marked the first time a ballistic missile belonging to the Chinese military had fallen into the waters, according to Kyodo News, with Tokyo lodging a diplomatic protest with Beijing.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters the statement released by G-7 foreign ministers Wednesday was “irresponsible.” In it, the group said there was “no justification to use a visit as pretext for aggressive military activity in the Taiwan Strait.”

Hayashi on Tuesday declined to comment on Pelosi’s trip, saying only in general it was extremely important for the international community that the US and China have stable ties. Tokyo subsequently lodged a protest over Chinese military drills around Taiwan, with some of which were set to be held in what Japan considers its EEZ.

With relations between the Asian neighbors strained over a raft of issues, the meeting was to have been the first in-person encounter between their foreign ministers since 2020, although they held a video conference in May. Japan has sought to avoid alienating its biggest trading partner, China, while bolstering ties with its only formal military ally, the US.

Chinese and Japanese vessels continue to chase one another around uninhabited islands close to Taiwan that are claimed by both countries.

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Officials in Tokyo have become increasingly outspoken about the importance of Taiwan’s national security to Japan’s own stability, a development that has sparked anger in China, which considers Taiwan part of its territory.

Former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba headed a lawmakers’ delegation to Taipei last week, where he called for bilateral talks on how to deal with contingencies. Japan and Taiwan are about 110 km (70 miles) apart at their closest point.

(Updates with Japan statement on missiles in third paragraph.)

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