The Japanese Prime Minister expressed “serious concerns” to the Chinese President on Thursday about Chinese military activity in the Asia-Pacific region and Beijing’s collaboration with Moscow.
“I expressed our deep concern about the increase in China’s military activity near Japan and its collaboration with Russia”, said Fumio Kishida after the meeting with Xi Jinping in the North American city of San Francisco, on the sidelines of the forum of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
Kishida told Japanese television channels that he had “once again underlined the extreme importance of peace in the Taiwan Strait for the international community and for Japan.”
Tensions have risen in the Pacific, marked by Chinese actions in the disputed South China Sea and Beijing’s military exercises around the island of Taiwan, over which China claims sovereignty.
In September, Tokyo said it had detected six military ships sailing about 650 kilometers south of the island of Miyakojima, east of Taiwan.
Kishida also stated that he insistently asked Xi “for a calm response based on scientific evidence and the immediate lifting of restrictions on imports of Japanese food products”.
China banned imports of Japanese seafood after Japan began discharging treated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean in August, with Beijing accusing Tokyo of treating the sea like “a sewer.”
Russia followed suit and also banned Japanese imports.
Japan insists the discharges are safe, an opinion supported by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations watchdog.
At the same meeting, the Japanese Prime Minister and the Chinese President highlighted the desire for peaceful cooperation between the two countries.
During the talks, the head of the Japanese government highlighted to Xi Jinping the role that the two countries play in maintaining regional and international peace, Japanese media reported.
The Chinese media said that Xi told Kishida that it was in the interests of both peoples for both countries to coexist peacefully, cooperate and grow together.
Xi also said the two sides should properly handle differences and focus on common interests.
This is the second summit between the current leaders of Japan and China, since the first meeting in Bangkok, about a year ago, also taking advantage of the meeting of APEC leaders.