Japan’s foreign minister calls for early release of citizens detained during talks in China According to Reuters
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi speaks during the Quad Council of Ministers at the Taj Palace hotel in New Delhi, India on March 3, 2023. OLIVIER DOULIERY/Pool via REUTERS
By Kiyoshi Takenaka, Sakura Murakami and Laurie Chen
TOKYO/BEIJING (Reuters) – Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said he urged Beijing to release a detained Japanese citizen early during a meeting with Chinese diplomat Qin Gang held on Sunday. Japan.
Hayashi is visiting China and meeting his counterpart Qin, marking the first visit to Beijing by a Japanese government foreign minister in more than three years, as the two countries seek common ground amid rising regional tensions. .
“I protested the recent detention of a Japanese in Beijing and stressed our position on the matter, including the early release of this citizen,” Hayashi told reporters. after meeting with Qin.
He added that Japan is seeking transparency in the legal process related to detention and has asked China to ensure a fair and safe business environment, but did not elaborate on its response. of China.
The visit comes a week after a spokesperson for Astellas Pharma Inc said its employees had been detained in China for unknown reasons. At least 16 Japanese nationals, excluding this case, have been detained in China on suspicion of engaging in espionage activities since 2015, according to Kyodo News.
Hayashi also said he conveyed Japan’s deep concern about China’s increasing military activity, including its proximity to Russia and its maritime presence in the East China Sea.
“We both affirmed the importance of continuing dialogue on issues including national security,” said Hayashi, adding that he had spoken with Qin about “the importance of ensuring ensure peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”
Tensions in the region are rising over Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its territory. China has never renounced the use of force to control Taiwan.
The democratically elected government in Taipei rejects Beijing’s claims and says only its people can decide its future.
Japan also filed a diplomatic complaint in August after five ballistic missiles launched by the Chinese military fell into Japan’s exclusive economic zone, near disputed islands known as the Senkakus in Japan and Diaoyu. Fishermen in China.
Mr. Hayashi said that although Japan and China have differences, both have agreed to restart trilateral talks with South Korea, calling the deal “an important achievement” from his meeting with Qin.
“We agreed to continue to communicate closely at various levels, including the foreign ministerial and leadership levels,” Hayashi added.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Chinese President Xi Jinping met on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit last November, marking high-level talks. First leader in nearly three years.