Beijing has issued a furious statement after Australia and Japan jointly raised serious concerns about a number of issues in the region.
Beijing has vented its fury at Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his Japanese counterpart after the two leaders voiced serious concerns about China after signing a historic Defence pact.
A spokesperson from the Chinese embassy in Australia on Friday labelled a joint statement released by the two leaders “groundless accusations” that were “in total disregard of facts”.
Mr Morrison and Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida held a virtual summit on Thursday to sign a Reciprocal Access Agreement that will mean greater security co-operation between the two nations.
Afterwards, they released a joint statement that said they supported peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait while also raising concerns about the situation in the South China Sea and East China Sea.
The statement also said that Japan and Australia shared concerns about reported human rights abuses against Uyghur and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.
“Grave concerns” were also held by the two leaders about the erosion of democratic elements in Hong Kong’s electoral system.
Those positions prompted a furious response from Beijing, with the spokesperson saying the statement interfered in China’s internal affairs.
“The joint statement of the Australia-Japan leaders’ meeting, in total disregard of the facts, makes groundless accusations against China on a series of issues related to China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and unscrupulously interferes in China’s internal affairs on issues related to Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan,” the spokesperson said.
“China deplores and firmly rejects this.”
He also warned Japan and Australia against “provoking division”.
“As members of the region, Australia and Japan should have played a positive role in enhancing mutual trust and co-operation, maintaining regional peace and stability, and promoting regional prosperity and development,” the spokesperson said.
“Instead, they should not violate international law and the basic norms of international relations, grossly interfere in the internal affairs of other countries and should not provoke division and confrontation or form a small circle to keep others out.
“They should not target a third party or undermine its interests.”
The spokesperson described China as a builder of world peace that was contributing to global development and providing public good.
They warned that China would “resolutely” defend its sovereignty, security and development interests.
“We urge Australia and Japan to see the underling trend of history, view China’s development objectively, embrace the trend of the times and make positive efforts to promote regional peace, stability and development,” they said.
The spokesperson said anything to the contrary would only be “self-defeating”.