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Japan seeks China's understanding on ex-PM Abe's Taiwan remarks

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a news conference on Dec. 2 that the government is unable to explain former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's comments on Taiwan that sparked a backlash from China, and called for Beijing's understanding.

    "The government is not in a position to explain the statements of someone who has left the government," Matsuno said at a morning news conference. He added that Japan had told the Chinese side, "Regarding the circumstances surrounding Taiwan, there is a need for China to understand that there are such thoughts within Japan. We cannot accept one-sided assertions from China."

    Japanese Ambassador to China Hideo Tarumi is said to have conveyed the remarks to Beijing on the evening of Dec. 1.

    Abe referred to Taiwan during a forum sponsored by a Taiwanese think tank on Dec. 1, saying that if China were to use military force against Taiwan, then it would be considered a contingency under the Japan-U.S. alliance. In response, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Dec. 2 that Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Hua Chunying held an urgent meeting with Tarumi on the evening of Dec. 1 and responded severely to the former prime's minister's comments.

    (Japanese original by Shuhei Endo, Political News Department)

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