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China vs Japan: A Battle of Diplomacy Over Debt Trap Accusations

Daniel Kim Views  

China has strongly criticized Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s recent criticism of its debt-trap diplomacy, stating it “tarnishes China’s image.”

Global Times

The Chinese Embassy in Japan announced on the 8th through a spokesperson’s statement that “China has repeatedly explained the facts and tried to ensure correct understanding.”

Before this, Prime Minister Kishida had criticized China’s debt-trap diplomacy, in which it uses excessive lending to exert influence, as seen in its Belt and Road Initiative (land and maritime Silk Road), in a speech at the University of São Paulo during his recent visit to Brazil. He stated that his country would pursue sustainable economic cooperation.

The statement from the Chinese embassy was an immediate opposition against this. It also criticized Japan for “disparaging the perception and judgment capabilities of the country by spreading falsehoods.”

China immediately followed up its complaints with action. That morning, it dispatched a coast guard patrol ship to the Diaoyu Islands (Senkaku Islands in Japanese), over which it has a territorial dispute with Japan, to express its protest. It further explained that “this is an activity carried out by the Chinese coast guard to protect its rights according to the law.”

China has historically stepped up patrols of the Diaoyu Islands when relations between the two countries enter a tense phase, such as when Japan sends a delegation of lawmakers to Taiwan or discharges contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant. This can be seen as a sign of protest. The same interpretation could be applied to this case.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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