Japan complains about Chinese ambassador's comment on Taiwan

Japan's Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi visits Kyiv

TOKYO (Reuters) -Japan has lodged a protest against the Chinese ambassador's "extremely inappropriate" comments about Taiwan, chief cabinet secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi said on Wednesday.

Wu Jianghao, the Chinese ambassador in Tokyo, said on Monday Japanese people would be dragged into the fire if they took part in forces plotting to support Taiwan's independence and "split China", according to Japanese media reports.

"We consider it to be extremely inappropriate for an ambassador stationed in Tokyo to make such a comment, and we have immediately lodged a severe protest against it," Hayashi, the top government spokesperson, told reporters at a regular news conference.

Hayashi also reiterated Japan's position that Tokyo expects issues surrounding Taiwan, an island Beijing views as a breakaway province, to be resolved peacefully through dialogue.

Taiwan's foreign ministry expressed its support for Japan's reaction to the Chinese ambassador's remarks.

"The foreign ministry welcomes the international community's attention to the situation in the Taiwan Strait and any actions that will help maintain regional peace," it said in a statement.

(Reporting by Satoshi Sugiyama; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Taipei; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Nick Macfie)