De-facto stern warning from Beijing towards Tokyo ahead of Suga's meeting with Biden

Beijing has drawn its red lines.

Today’s newsletter will be brief. Usual disclaimers apply - all the “takes” (and even English-language translations) are strictly personal, NOT official or authoritative.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday, April 5 put out two pieces of readouts (a South China Morning Post story says it is “a rare move”) of a phone call between State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Japanese counterpart Toshimitsu Motegi.

Your Pekingnologist happens to find the some of the languages in the readouts are unusual and wonders if the message has been sufficiently received.

The Chinese-language readouts are here and here, which include:

王毅表示,面对复杂的国际形势,中日作为长久的近邻和世界第二、三大经济体,理应顺应时代潮流和国际大势,相互尊重、彼此信任,互利合作,共同为本地区和世界的和平与发展事业发挥积极作用。双方应珍惜和维护中日关系来之不易的改善发展大局,坚定贯彻落实习近平主席和菅义伟首相去年通话达成的重要共识,恪守中日四个政治文件原则和精神,确保两国关系不折腾、不停滞、不倒退,不卷入所谓大国对抗。中方希望日本作为独立自主国家,客观、理性看待中国的发展,而不是被一些对中国持有偏见的国家“带节奏”。日美有同盟关系,中日也签署了和平友好条约,日本同样有履行条约的义务。中方愿同日方持续推进务实合作,相互支持对方办好东京奥运会和北京冬奥会,以今明两年中日文化体育交流促进年和明年中日邦交正常化50周年为契机,努力改善两国国民感情,把一个稳定、健康的中日关系带入下一个50年。

Wang Yi said that in the face of the complex international situation, China and Japan, as long-time neighbors and the second and third largest economies in the world, should follow the trend of the times and the international trend, respect each other, trust each other, cooperate for mutual benefit and play a positive role in the cause of peace and development in the region and the world. Both sides should cherish and maintain the hard-won improvement and development of Sino-Japanese relations, firmly implement the important consensus reached by President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide during their call last year, abide by the principles and spirit of the four Sino-Japanese political documents, and ensure that relations between the two countries do not falter, stagnate or regress and do not get involved in the so-called great power confrontation. China hopes that Japan, as an independent country, will look at China's development objectively and rationally, rather than being "led by the rhythm"/carried away by some countries that are biased against China. Japan and the United States are an alliance, but China and Japan also have a Sino-Japanese Treaty of Peace and Friendship, and Japan also has the obligation to fulfill the treaty. China is willing to continue to promote the practical cooperation with the Japanese side; mutually support each other to host the Tokyo Olympic Games and the Beijing Winter Olympics slated to take place this year and next year (respectively); use the occasion "China-Japan Cultural and Sports Exchange Promotion Years” (2021 and 2022) and the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between China and Japan (2022) as opportunities to improve the feelings of the two countries’ people; and bring stable and healthy Sino-Japanese relations into the next 50 years.

王毅阐述了中方在钓鱼岛、南海等问题上的原则立场,反对日方介入涉疆、涉港等中国内政,要求日方遵守国际关系基本准则,作为近邻对中国的内部事务保持起码的尊重,不要把手伸得太长了。

Wang Yi elaborated on China's principled position on issues such as the Diaoyu Islands and the South China Sea, opposes Japanese involvement in China's internal affairs in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, and asked Japan to abide by the basic norms of international relations and maintain a minimum of respect for China's internal affairs as a close neighbor, and not to extend its hand too far.

王毅表示,某个超级大国的意志代表不了国际社会,跟随这个超级大国的少数国家也无权垄断多边规则。如果打着多边主义幌子,热衷于搞集团政治或大国对抗,甚至基于虚假信息对别国任意实施单边非法制裁,世界就会倒退到是非不分的丛林法则,这对广大中小国家将是灾难,国际社会大多数成员也不会答应。

Wang Yi said that the will of a certain superpower does not represent the international community, and the few countries that follow this superpower have no power to monopolize multilateral rules. If, under the guise of multilateralism, they are keen to engage in politics of a clique or big power confrontation, or even arbitrarily impose unilateral and illegal sanctions on other countries based on misinformation, the world will regress to the law of the jungle where right and wrong are indistinguishable, which will be a disaster for the numerous small and medium-sized countries, and the majority of members of the international community will not agree.

Your Pekingnologist further recalls some language from a March 17 press conference by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, hosted by spokesperson Zhao Lijian (in Mandarin and in English), after the United States and Japan issuing a joint press statement after holding their "2+2" Security Consultative Committee on March 16 saying that China's behavior, where inconsistent with the existing international order, presents challenges to the international community.

from Zhao Lijian (this is MoFA’s official translation)

First, there is only one system in the world, and it is the UN-centered international order; there is only one set of rules, and it is the basic norms governing international relations with the UN Charter as its cornerstone. The US and Japan are not entitled to define what the international order is, still less to impose their standard on others.

Second, China is always an important force to safeguard world peace and promote common development. We have established partnerships with 112 countries and international organizations, joined more than 100 inter-governmental organizations and signed over 500 multilateral treaties. China now stands as the largest contributor of peacekeepers in all the permanent members of the Security Council. The US is accustomed to upholding double standards and cherry-picking with international law and international rules. During its nearly 250 years of history, there were only 16 years when it was not at war. It also runs hundreds of military bases all over the world. The international community has its fair judgement as to who poses the top threat to world peace and security.

Third, China's position on issues relating to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, the South China Sea and the Diaoyu Island is consistent and clear. Our resolution and will to defend national sovereignty, security and development interests is rock solid. China's sovereignty over islands in the South China Sea and the adjacent waters, the Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands is indisputable. The South China Sea is more than 8,300 miles away from the continental United States. Despite the distance, the U.S. side has repeatedly sent warships and military aircraft to the South China Sea for military drills and close-in reconnaissance, without a break all year round. It is the United States that has been flexing muscles and practicing coercion and intimidation. Issues concerning Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang are China's domestic affairs that brook no foreign interference. The US-Japan joint statement shows a disregard for historical merits of the issues, as well as facts and truth. It is but further evidence of the two countries colluding to meddle in China's internal affairs and malign China.

Fourth, the United States and Japan, stuck in the Cold-War mentality, deliberately seek bloc confrontation and attempt to form an anti-China circle. This runs counter to the trend of our times and the aspiration for peace, development and cooperation shared by the region and the vast majority of countries in the world. It will only bring chaos or even conflict to the region and further expose the US-Japan alliance's true face of undermining regional peace and stability.

Fifth, Japan, driven by the selfish aim to check China's revitalization, willingly stoops to acting as a strategic vassal of the United States, going so far as to break faith, harm relations with China, invite the wolf into the house, and betray the collective interests of the whole region. Such despicable behavior is deeply unpopular.

Sixth, we urge the United States and Japan to immediately stop interfering in China's internal affairs, stop forming the anti-China clique, and stop undermining regional peace and stability. China will take all measures necessary to resolutely defend sovereignty, security and development interests.

The English-language translation, in the personal opinion of your Pekingnologist, unfortunately, does not fully reflect the sternness of the original Mandarin, not because MoFA is bad at English but because the Mandarin versions use quite some 成语 idioms, especially the highlighted parts (and most notably point number five).

第一,世界上只有一个体系,就是以联合国为核心的国际体系;只有一套规则,就是以联合国宪章宗旨为基础的国际关系基本准则。美日没有资格单方面定义国际体系,更没有资格将自己的标准强加于人。

第二,中国始终是维护世界和平、促进共同发展的重要力量。中国同112个国家和国际组织建立了伙伴关系,参加了100多个政府间国际组织,签署了超过500多个多边条约,是安理会常任理事国中派出维和部队最多的国家。美国一贯奉行双重标准,对国际法和国际规则合则用、不合则弃,建国后近250年间仅有16年没有打仗,在全球拥有数百个军事基地。谁是世界和平与安全的最大威胁,国际社会自有公论。

第三,中国在台湾、涉港、涉疆、南海、钓鱼岛等问题上的立场是一贯的、明确的。中国捍卫国家主权、安全、发展利益的决心和意志坚如磐石。中国对南海诸岛及其附近海域、对钓鱼岛及其附属岛屿拥有无可争辩的主权。美国本土距离南海8300多英里,却常年派军机军舰在南海开展军事演习和抵近侦查。大搞炫耀武力、胁迫威逼的正是美国。台湾、涉港、涉疆问题都是中国内政,不容任何外国干涉。美日联合声明无视有关问题的历史经纬,罔顾事实和真相,不过是美日狼狈为奸、干涉中国内政的又一明证和诬蔑抹黑中国的恶劣例证。

第四,美日固守冷战思维,蓄意搞集团对抗,试图打造反华“包围圈”,这完全是逆时代潮流而动,同本地区和世界绝大多数国家求和平、谋发展、促合作的共同期待背道而驰。美日此举只会给本地区带来混乱甚至冲突,只会让世人越发看清“美日同盟”祸乱地区和平稳定的真面目。

第五,日本为满足阻遏中国崛起复兴的一己之私,甘愿仰人鼻息,充当美国战略附庸,不惜背信弃义、破坏中日关系,不惜引狼入室、出卖本地区整体利益。这种做法令人不齿,不得人心。

第六,我们强烈敦促美日立即停止干涉中国内政,立即停止搞针对中国的“小圈子”,立即停止破坏地区和平稳定大局。中方将采取一切必要措施,坚决捍卫自身主权、安全和发展利益。

Some brief notes:

1) 日本为满足阻遏中国崛起复兴的一己之私,甘愿仰人鼻息,充当美国战略附庸,不惜背信弃义、破坏中日关系,不惜引狼入室、出卖本地区整体利益。这种做法令人不齿,不得人心 , as said on March 17, is perhaps as stern as it can get.

2) Wang, on Monday, April 5, said China is willing to join Japan to mutually support each other to host the Tokyo Olympic Games and the Beijing Winter Olympics slated to take place this year and next year (respectively).

To put it bluntly: if Japan doesn’t support the Beijing Winter Olympics, maybe - just maybe - China won’t support the Tokyo Olympic Games?

3) Wang said Japan shall 作为近邻对中国的内部事务保持起码的尊重,不要把手伸得太长了 maintain a minimum of respect for China's internal affairs as a close neighbor, and not to extend its hand too far. So is Tokyo, in the eyes of Beijing, nearing below the minimum of respect?

4) Japan has not engaged, in lockstep with the United States and others, in arbitrarily impose unilateral and illegal sanctions on other countries based on misinformation - SO FAR.

5) Some languages in the readouts of the phone call sound quite oral but are perhaps more lively:

“带节奏” led by the rhythm/carried away

“不要把手伸得太长了” not to extend its hand too far

5) Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will visit Washington for talks with President Joe Biden on April 16, the Japanese government said Friday (April 2).

And just by the way, Family comes first: Japan to switch order of names in victory for tradition (Reuters) happened over a year and a half ago, but Tokyo has yet to get its way in mainstream Western discourse?

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