Japan ‘two-faced’ for seeking closer ties while warning of China threat, Chinese state media says

By Thomson Reuters Apr 18, 2024 | 12:26 AM

BEIJING (Reuters) – An editorial in a Chinese state-controlled newspaper on Thursday admonished “two-faced” Japan for inaccurately portraying it as a regional security threat while chasing more stable bilateral ties, warning of Chinese measures if Tokyo acted recklessly.

In his address to the U.S. Congress last week, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called China’s military actions “an unprecedented and the greatest strategic challenge” to the world, and vowed deeper strategic cooperation with Washington, placing China and Russia’s military actions as top threats.

In an editorial on Thursday, the ruling Communist Party’s official newspaper said Japan claimed to be promoting bilateral relations but was also attempting to provoke confrontation by exaggerating China as a threat, describing Japan as “typical of a ‘two-faced person’ with no credibility”.

People’s Daily in the editorial accused Japan of exaggerating the security threat as an excuse for its own military build-up.

The editorial also said U.S. and Japanese discussions on Taiwan, which China claims as part of its territory, were a “gross” interference in China’s internal affairs.

Japan’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on the editorial.

Tokyo’s moves to strengthen ties with its former World War Two enemy to counter Beijing have increasingly hindered the outlook for any near-term rapprochement between Japan and China, whose ties have come under strain over issues from Japan’s release of treated radioactive water into the ocean to China’s detention of Japanese citizens on suspicion of espionage.

Japan and China have also clashed over mutual maritime claims in the East China Sea, as well as China’s actions against the Philippines’ territorial claims in the South China Sea.

To bolster the economic and trade aspects of their relationship, Japanese business leaders travelled to China in January for their first visit since 2019.

Japan relies heavily on China, where Japanese companies have for years invested in manufacturing supply chains and forged relationships with local partners.

“If the Japanese side remains obsessed with ulterior motives and misconceptions about China, and acts recklessly, the Chinese side will resolutely make necessary responses,” the editorial said.

(Reporting by Liz Lee, Beijing and Shanghai newsrooms; Additional reporting by John Geddie in Tokyo. Editing by Gerry Doyle)