China rips Abe after former Japanese leader’s remarks about Taiwan

China is blasting former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe over his comments that there would be consequences for Beijing if it took military action against Taiwan.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a Wednesday briefing that Abe had “talked nonsense.”

Wenbin added that Abe’s comments were irresponsible, that  China ”strongly opposes and deplores this” and had protested to Japan through diplomatic channels.

The former Japanese leader who retired in 2020 said at an event on Wednesday that Japan and the United States could not stand by if China attacked Taiwan, Reuters reported.

“A Taiwan emergency is a Japanese emergency, and therefore an emergency for the Japan-U.S. alliance. People in Beijing, President Xi Jinping in particular, should never have a misunderstanding in recognizing this,” Abe said.

“Military adventure would lead to economic suicide,” Abe added. “People in Beijing, especially President Xi Jinping, should never have a misunderstanding in recognizing this.”

Wenbin in response said “no one should underestimate the resolve determination, firm will and strong ability of the Chinese people to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

He further emphasized that “Taiwan is China’s sacred territory, where no external interference shall be tolerated.”

He also alleged that during its colonial rule over Taiwan for half a century, “Japan committed crimes, over which it has grave historical responsibilities to the Chinese people.” 

The comments come amid escalating tensions in the South China Sea. In November, a top Taiwan security official said that China has internally considered attacking Taiwan’s Pratas Islands but said it would hold off on the move until 2024.

The United States and its allies would take unspecified “action” if China were to change the status quo over Taiwan, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last month.

Beijing has long insisted that Taiwan must eventually be unified with the mainland while Taiwan has promised to fight for its freedom and democracy.

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