Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has slammed China for allowing protesters to throw stones at Japanese embassy schools in Beijing and Shanghai, calling it a “serious violation” of international law.
Kishida said on Tuesday that he had summoned the Chinese ambassador to Japan, Kong Xuanyou, and lodged a strong protest over the incidents, which occurred on Sunday amid rising tensions over Taiwan and the Senkaku Islands.
“We cannot tolerate such acts that threaten the safety of Japanese nationals and infringe on Japan’s sovereignty,” Kishida said at a press conference. “We urge China to take immediate and effective measures to prevent such incidents from happening again.”
According to Japan’s Foreign Ministry, about 100 protesters gathered outside the Japanese embassy school in Beijing and threw stones and bottles at the school building, breaking some windows and damaging a car. A similar incident happened at the Japanese consulate school in Shanghai, where about 50 protesters threw stones and eggs at the school gate.
The ministry said no one was injured in either incident, but some students and staff were inside the schools at the time. The ministry also said it had confirmed that Chinese police were present at both locations, but did not intervene to stop the protesters.
The stone-throwing incidents came amid heightened tensions between Japan and China over Taiwan and the Senkaku Islands, which are claimed by both countries and Taiwan. China has been increasing its military pressure on Taiwan, which it considers a breakaway province, while Japan has been strengthening its ties with the island as a democratic ally.
On Saturday, Kishida and US President Joe Biden issued a joint statement after their summit in Washington, reaffirming their commitment to defend Taiwan in case of a Chinese attack. The statement also expressed “serious concerns” over China’s “unilateral attempts to change the status quo” in the East and South China Seas, where Beijing has been building artificial islands and militarizing disputed waters.
China reacted angrily to the statement, accusing Japan and the US of interfering in its internal affairs and undermining regional peace and stability. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Monday that China would “take all necessary measures to firmly safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests.”
Kishida said on Tuesday that Japan’s stance on Taiwan was consistent with its previous position, which is based on the 1972 Japan-China Joint Communique that recognizes Beijing as the sole legal government of China. He also said that Japan did not intend to escalate tensions with China, but rather sought to maintain stable relations through dialogue and cooperation.
“We hope that China will play a constructive role in the international community as a responsible major power,” Kishida said. “We will continue to communicate with China in a frank and calm manner to resolve various issues of mutual concern.”