BEIJING – China on Friday expressed “strong dissatisfaction with and firm opposition to” a joint statement released after a Japan-EU summit in which leaders of the two sides called for “peace and stability” across the Taiwan Strait.
The Japanese government has “exaggerated China’s threats” and “advocated political and geopolitical confrontation based on lies and false information,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters.
“Taiwan is China’s territory. China will never allow any country to interfere in the Taiwan issue in any way,” he said, criticizing Japan and the European Union for “harming international peace and stability.”
In Washington in April, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga also confirmed with U.S. President Joe Biden at their summit “the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.” It marked the first time in 52 years that Japanese and U.S. leaders have mentioned Taiwan in a joint statement.
Zhao said Japan’s recent moves have “adversely affected” relations between the two Asian nations, and Suga’s government should not meddle in China’s internal affairs such as Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
In the joint statement following their virtual conference on Thursday, European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen joined Suga in encouraging the “peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues.”
It was the first-ever reference to Taiwan in a Japan-EU joint statement, according to a Japanese Foreign Ministry official.
Taiwan and mainland China have been separately governed since they split in 1949 as a result of a civil war. Their relationship has deteriorated under independence-leaning Tsai Ing-wen, who has served as Taiwan’s president since 2016.