ⓒ JoongAng Ilbo / JoongAng Ilbo Japanese version2022.11.15 08:58
At the 17th East Asia Summit (EAS) held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on the 13th, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida directly pointed out China and strongly criticized it for violating Japan’s sovereignty in the East China Sea. It is unusual for the Japanese prime minister to mention the name of the country and issue a critical message at a multilateral meeting attended by representatives of China. There is a view that it may have indicated that it was on the side of the United States. The meeting was attended by U.S. President Joe Biden, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
According to Japanese media on the 14th, Prime Minister Kishida said at a conference, “China’s activities that violate Japan’s sovereignty in the East China Sea continue to intensify, and in the South China Sea, actions such as militarization and coercive activities increase regional tensions. It’s still going,” he said. In addition, he touched on the fact that some of the ballistic missiles launched by the Chinese military in August of this year landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), saying, “Peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait is also an important issue that is directly linked to regional security. It’s a problem,” he said. He also expressed concern over the situation in Hong Kong and the human rights situation in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, according to Japanese media reports.
Prime Minister Kishida’s direct speech did not stop there. Regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Prime Minister Kishida said, “Any attempt to unilaterally change the status quo by force will never be accepted anywhere in the world. The threat or use of nuclear weapons is an act of hostility against humankind.” We need to send out a clear message,” he said.
After the meeting that day, Prime Minister Kishida told reporters, “Japan’s stance is to assert what should be asserted.”
In connection with this, a Japanese diplomatic source said, “During the Abe administration, we pursued a kind of ‘balanced diplomacy’ that emphasized the Japan-U.S. alliance while also trying to maintain friendly relations with China and Russia to some extent.” “However, with China’s rapid rise and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the direction of Japan’s diplomacy is changing to ‘integrate’ with the United States and show its presence,” he said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Kishida are scheduled to hold a summit meeting in Thailand on the 17th. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno announced on the 14th that President Xi and Prime Minister Kishida will meet in Bangkok on the 17th, where the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit will be held. It will be the first time in about three years since the summit was held in December 2019 at the Korea-China-Japan summit in China.