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Highlights:

  • China urged Japan to stay away from “internal issues” including Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
  • Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his counterpart Toshimitsu Motegi that he hoped China’s development would be treated by Japan from an “objective and rational” perspective. 
  • The Japanese PM Suga has come under pressure as few in his ruling party want Japan to follow major democracies in imposing sanctions on China. 
  • Japan has found itself in an awkward situation to balance its relations with the US that is its only military ally and China that is its biggest trading partner.

China urged Japan to stay away from “internal issues” including Hong Kong and Xinjiang. The appeal of China came, as Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga prepares to meet the President of the United States Joe Biden later this month. 

According to a statement from the Government of Beijing on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi told his Japanese counterpart Toshimitsu Motegi that he hoped China’s development will be treated by Japan from an “objective and rational” perspective rather than be led by a rhythm of Nations that are biased towards China. 

The statement added that while Japan is a United States ally, it also has a Treaty of Peace and Friendship with China. The Foreign Ministry of Japan in a separate statement stated that Motegi reiterated in the call, expressing Japan’s serious concern over a range of issues, including the situation in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, and also China’s passage of a law allowing its Coast Guard to fire on foreign ships.

Since Biden became the US President, Suga will be the first foreign leader to meet him, underscoring the U.S.’s focus on shoring up ties with allies in the region as it tries to pressure China over Human Rights issue to trade to a probe into the origins of the deadly virus ‘coronavirus’. 

The Japanese PM Suga has come under pressure as few in his ruling party want Japan to follow major democracies in imposing sanctions on Chinese officials over accusations of forced labor in Xinjiang, particularly ahead of the White House summit on April 16 and the Group of Seven summit in the U.K. in June.

A cross-party lawmakers’ group on human rights, including members from Suga’s Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner Komeito, held on Tuesday its first inaugural meeting. An LDP lawmaker told in the meeting that serious human rights violations across the world cannot be ignored. “The world is focusing more and more on how Japan, whose constitution emphasizes human rights, will respond.”

Japan has found itself in an awkward situation to balance its relations with the US that is its only military ally and China that is its biggest trading partner. On being questioned about the sanctions imposed by other countries on a Tuesday media briefing in Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary said the aim is to improve the human rights situation and each Nation will decide from its viewpoint whether that is effective.  

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