China, parts of which were occupied by Japan until 1945, criticized Abe for stirring up the issue of Taiwan, regarded by the Communist-led government as a renegade province to be reunified with the mainland by force if necessary.


“Recently, Japanese politicians have frequently spread fallacies related to Taiwan and even blatantly made false remarks that violate the nation’s three non-nuclear principles,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters in Beijing.


“We strongly ask Japan to deeply reflect on its history” and “be cautious in words and deeds on the Taiwan issue to stop provoking trouble,” Wang added.


In December, Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister who still heads the largest faction within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, said any emergency concerning Taiwan would be an emergency for Japan and for the Japan-U.S. security alliance, triggering a backlash from China.


Abe, a conservative politician known for his hawkish views on security, said Sunday that Japan “should not put a taboo on discussions” about a nuclear sharing arrangement similar to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s nuclear deterrence policy.


Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, meanwhile, said Monday that it is not acceptable for Japan to make a nuclear sharing arrangement with the United States, rejecting the idea of hosting U.S. nuclear weapons as a deterrent amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.


Relying on the U.S. nuclear umbrella, Japan, which had two cities devastated by U.S.-dropped atomic bombs in World War II, adheres to its three principles of not producing, possessing or allowing nuclear arms on its territory.


Some non-nuclear NATO members hold U.S. nuclear weapons under their nuclear sharing arrangements.


But China and South Korea, which was also colonized by Japan from 1910 through the end of World War II, have long voiced opposition to Tokyo’s possession of nuclear weapons and even to the country’s discussion about the possibility of it.


Taiwan was under Japanese colonial rule for 50 years through 1945. It was taken over by the Chinese Nationalist Party, or KMT, that relocated to the island in 1949 after losing in a civil war to the Chinese Communist Party.


While Tokyo severed diplomatic ties with Taipei and established them with Beijing in 1972, Taiwan and Japan have continued to maintain relations due primarily to economic cooperation by the private sector.