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Japan foreign minister expresses concerns about China military activities

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Japan’s Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa has expressed serious concerns to China’s new Foreign Minister Qin Gang about Beijing’s military activities near Japan, including its coordination with Russia.

The ministers held their first phone conversation on Thursday.

Hayashi also conveyed serious concerns over human rights issues in Hong Kong and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, as well as over situations in the East China Sea such as the Senkaku Islands.

Chinese government ships have repeatedly intruded into Japan’s territorial waters around the islands.

Japan controls the islands. China and Taiwan claim them. The Japanese government maintains that the islands are an inherent part of Japan’s territory, in terms of history and international law. It says there is no issue of sovereignty to be resolved over them.

Hayashi reiterated the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

He also urged Beijing to release Japanese nationals currently detained in China and to take appropriate measures to secure legitimate economic activities of Japanese companies.

The ministers discussed the situation in Ukraine and confirmed that Tokyo and Beijing will strengthen communication in the UN Security Council. Japan is a non-permanent member of the council from this year.

Qin called on Japan to ease its anti-coronavirus border controls for arrivals from China. Hayashi responded that Japan will flexibly deal with the matter after studying the infection situation in China.

The ministers agreed to cooperate towards realizing a constructive and stable relationship and to continue close communication at all levels.

They also confirmed that both sides will continue making arrangements for Hayashi to visit China.

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