China accuses US, Japan of smearing it 'baselessly'

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the US and Japan have baselessly smeared and attacked China, and wantonly interfered with China's domestic affairs. PHOTO: REUTERS

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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