Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga Incurs Chinese Wrath For Referring To Taiwan As A CountryJapan's new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga (Picture via Twitter)

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has incurred the wrath of China for referring to Taiwan as a country.

During a parliamentary debate on Thursday (Jun 10), Suga named Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan as "three countries have been imposing strong restrictions on privacy rights” to curb the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Reacting strongly to Suga's comments on the floor of the parliament, Wang Wenbin told a daily news briefing that the Japanese leader, by openly referred to Taiwan as "a country", seriously violated the principles of the four political documents including the China-Japan Joint Declaration, and breached the solemn promise of "not regarding Taiwan as a country" made by the Japanese side many times so far.

China wants Japan to immediately issue clarifications to eliminate the damage and to ensure that such a thing will not reoccur, the spokesperson said.

"China seriously urges the Japanese side to earnestly keep its promises on the Taiwan question, to exercise caution in words and deeds, to not damage China's sovereignty in any way, and to refrain from sending wrong signals to the "Taiwan independence" forces," Wang said.

There is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inseparable part of China's territory, said Wang, adding that the Taiwan question concerns the political foundation of China-Japan ties, the basic credibility between the two countries, and the international rule of law and justice.

Suga government's outreach to Taiwan has irked the Chinese leadership, which has never renounced the use of force to reunify the island with the mainland. While Japan ended diplomatic ties with Taipei and established them with Beijing in 1972, Taiwan and Japan have continued to maintain relations primarily through economic cooperation by the private sector.

Earlier this month, China’s foreign ministry criticised Japan for its donation of 1.2m doses of Covid-19 vaccines to Taiwan. As a goodwill gesture, Japan delivered to Taiwan 1.24m doses of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine. The doses donated will serve a big boost to Taiwan's struggling vaccination drive.

Taiwan and mainland China have been separately governed since they split in 1949 following the Chinese civil war. The relationship between mainland China and island state has taken a turn for the worse since Tsai Ing-wen became Taiwanese president in 2016.

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