China today (14 September) said that the growing ties between India and Japan would be conducive to peace and stability, and insisted that the countries in the region work for partnership instead of forming an alliance.
The comments by the Chinese Foreign Ministry came as New Delhi and Tokyo sought to firm up their close ties during Japanese Prime Minister Shizo Abe's visit to India. India and Japan have inked 15 agreements to further grow their strategic partnership and agreed to strengthen cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, where China has been increasingly assertive.
When asked about Abe’s visit to India, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying Hua declined to comment on specific issues like Japan's plans to sell US-2 amphibious aircraft to India. She said she would like to wait till a detailed readout from the two countries emerges following a meeting between Abe and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Japan's plans to sell the amphibious aircraft to India has raised eyebrows because this is the first time that Tokyo has chosen to sell defence equipment to any country. China has also raised concerns about Japanese participation in the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail corridor. China has been vying for high-speed rail projects in India, and has been especially eyeing the New Delhi-Chennai corridor.
China and Japan also have a long-standing dispute over islands in the East China Sea. Chinese ties with Japan have also been strained by what Beijing claims is Japanese reluctance to atone for the country’s wartime past.
Hua said China will “stay open and welcome normal development of relations between the countries in the region” as long as they are conducive to peace and stability in the region.
A Global Times editorial titled 'India-Japan intimacy no threat to China' said, "in a changing world, the India-Japan intimacy is more like a contrivance". It said Japan is unlikely to challenge China as it has strong bilateral trade relations with Beijing.
"Under the international relations logic of the 21st century, closer India-Japan ties won't pose grave threats to China because many of their emotional moves to console each other won't produce any real effects in challenging China," it said.
With inputs from PTI