China accuses US, Japan of smearing it ‘baselessly’

BEIJING (REUTERS) – Beijing has issued a strongly-worded complaint to the United States and Japan for “baselessly” attacking China at a virtual meeting between US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Monday (Jan 24).

Mr Biden and Mr Kishida had a “very in-depth discussion” on China, sharing concerns about its intimidation of neighbours and “predatory” steps in trade and other realms, a US official said of the meeting last week, adding that Mr Kishida was particularly concerned about China’s nuclear build-up.

“They yet again have baselessly smeared and attacked China, and wantonly interfered with China’s domestic affairs,” said Mr Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

“The US and Japan are holding to Cold-War mentalities and inciting ideological antagonism,” Mr Zhao said at a regular media briefing.

Mr Biden and Mr Kishida also resolved “to push back” against China’s attempts to change the status quo in the East and South China Seas, according to a White House statement.

Mr Biden and Mr Kishida’s online meeting was their first substantial talks since Mr Kishida became Japan’s prime minister in October.

It followed “two-plus-two” discussions this month at which defence and foreign ministers from the long-time allies voiced strong concern about China’s growing might and vowed to respond if necessary to destabilising activity in the Indo-Pacific.

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