Japan's Kyodo news agency said Abe raised the issue at a G7
meeting in The Hague this month, warning that China was trying
to change the status quo through coercion, and said something
similar to Russia's seizing of Crimea could happen in Asia.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said those comments
were completely out of place, and launched a personal attack on
Abe himself, using unusually strong language.
"We've long since said that this Japanese leader on the one hand
hypocritically proposes improving Sino-Japan ties and on the
other says bad things about China wherever he is
internationally. These comments again expose his true face,"
Hong told a daily news briefing.
"He tries in vain on the international stage to mislead the
public with prevarication and deliberate falsehoods and blacken
China's name. But this cannot pull the wool over the eyes of the
Hong said it was Japan who had "illegally snatched" uninhabited
islands, called the Diaoyu by China and the Senkaku by Japan, at
the center of the territorial dispute.
China was resolute in its determination to protect its
sovereignty in the East and South China Seas, Hong said, adding
China wanted these disputes resolved via dialogue.
Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida echoed Hong in stressing
the importance of high-level dialogue, but indicated that the
ball was in China's court.
"Regrettably, China and South Korea have maintained a stance
that Japan's action on individual (bilateral) issues should come
first. But it is clear neither of us can readily make a
concession on the issues of history and territory," Kishida
"I'm afraid talks won't ever take place if no talks can be held
until these issues are resolved."
Tokyo's relations with Seoul are strained by conflicting claims
over a separate group of islets.
South Korean and Chinese ties with Japan have long been poisoned
by what they see as Japan's failure to atone for its wartime
Abe held talks with South Korean President Park Geun-hye in a
U.S.-brokered three-way summit in The Hague this week, but no
official bilateral meeting between Abe and Park has been held.
Beijing's anger over the past is never far from the surface, and
relations have deteriorated sharply over the past two years
because of the island dispute.
China's claims over islands, reefs and atolls in resource-rich
waters off its south coast and to the east of mainland Southeast
Asia have also set it directly against Vietnam and the
Philippines, where Brunei, Taiwan and Malaysia have claims too.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing, Kiyoshi Takenaka in
Tokyo; editing by Nick Macfie)
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