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Venezuela slams Japan foreign minister's remarks as interference

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza (Kyodo)

RIO DE JANEIRO (Kyodo) -- Venezuela has slammed Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono over his remarks on the Latin American country's democracy as meddling in domestic affairs, the Venezuelan foreign minister said Wednesday.

In this Aug. 14, 2018 photo, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, left, and his Peruvian counterpart Nestor Popolizio hold a joint press conference following their talks in Lima, Peru. (Kyodo)

The protest came after Kono said Tuesday during a press appearance in Peru with Peruvian Foreign Minister Nestor Popolizio that they had agreed to continue calling for Venezuela to restore democracy with the participation of a wide range of citizens.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza told the country's public broadcaster that he handed over a letter of protest to Japanese Ambassador to Venezuela Kenji Okada at the Foreign Ministry.

Arreaza said Kono's remarks are hostile and go against international law, adding that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro will take proper action unless the comments are corrected.

Kono is on a Latin American tour aimed at deepening bilateral ties with Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Mexico.

Peru has been leading efforts by a group of Latin American countries known as the Lima Group that have criticized Venezuela's electoral process. Amid allegations that the May presidential election was not fair, anti-U.S. Maduro won another term.

Earlier in the month, drones exploded during a televised speech by Maduro in a suspected assassination attempt.

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