China skips foreign minister talks with Japan at ASEAN-linked Cambodia meet

The Chinese government said on Thursday that China had decided not to host a meeting of foreign ministers with Japan on the sidelines of ASEAN-related events in Phnom Penh. The Chinese government cited Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan as the reason for the decision. In a statement released by their foreign ministers on Wednesday after Pelosi’s visit, the Group of Seven industrialised countries—including Japan—unreasonably criticised China, according to foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying.

According to Japanese sources, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi were planning to meet in the Cambodian capital on the fringes of a number of ASEAN-related meetings.

It would have been the first face-to-face discussion between the two East Asian neighbours’ foreign ministers since November 2020, and it would have taken place amid rising U.S.-China tensions over Taiwan in the wake of Pelosi’s visit to the democratically self-governing island, which Beijing views as a rebellious province, this past week.

The G7 foreign ministers expressed worry about China’s “recent and stated threatening activities,” particularly its live-fire drills and economic pressure.

They warned that Beijing’s “escalatory approach risks raising tensions and destabilising the area,” adding that there is no justification to use a visit as cover for aggressive military activity in the Taiwan Strait. The G7 used the term PRC, the People’s Republic of China, the nation’s official name, to say, “We urge on the PRC not to unilaterally change the status quo by force in the region.” The United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and the rest of the G7 are the other members.

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