Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that the Washington Post misquoted Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s remarks about China. The article quotes Abe as saying the Chinese have a “deeply ingrained” need for conflict, which has led to another war of words with the Chinese government.
The report cited Abe as saying that China‘s decisions to clash with its neighbours over territorial disputes is to play to popular opinion that is due to a Chinese educational system of patriotism and “anti-Japanese sentiment.” After China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei reacted angrily to the report, Suga says the Japanese government got in touch with China to clarify the statements. Lei earlier said that they were “shocked” with the statements and that it is very rare that leader would “brazenly distort facts” and ineffectively verbally attack its neighbor, despite the fact that the two countries have been involved in increasing tensions over the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands. Lei said that PM Abe must clarify these statements as soon as possible.
The Prime Minister has repeatedly emphasized that Japan still considers its relationship with China as one of the most important bilateral relationships of the country. Suga said that they still plan to pursue the bilateral strategies that they are planning to put into place, plans that are “mutually beneficial through an overall perspective.”[ via Xinhuanet ]