BEIJING (Kyodo) -- Japan expressed "great concern" about the recent situation in Hong Kong, Foreign Minister Taro Kono said Tuesday, calling on his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi to peacefully resolve the unrest soon.
"It is important to resolve the problem through dialogue" in a peaceful manner, Kono told reporters after his bilateral meeting with Wang on the fringes of a three-way gathering with South Korea at a resort area in Beijing on Wednesday.
In Hong Kong, large-scale demonstrations have continued, with many protesters opposing a controversial extradition bill that could enable the transfer of fugitives to mainland China.
The bill, now suspended but not withdrawn, could bolster the influence of communist China and erode liberties in the former British colony, critics say.
"There are more than 25,000 Japanese every time in Hong Kong. We have told Hong Kong authorities that it is necessary to ensure their safety," Kono said.
The Chinese leadership led by President Xi Jinping has stationed the People's Armed Police Force, a paramilitary force, in Shenzhen, just across the border from Hong Kong, with armored vehicles seen gathering in recent days at a stadium.