On Monday, China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, delivered a statement urging China, Japan, and South Korea to convey a clear message of regrouping for cooperation and resist “the coercion of bullying and domination.” The remarks were seen as a veiled reference to the United States, coinciding with increased tensions as the U.S. seeks to strengthen alliances with Japan and South Korea to counter China’s expanding regional influence. Wang’s address focused on revitalizing cooperation among the three neighboring countries, speaking at a forum organized by the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat, established through an agreement among Beijing, Seoul, and Tokyo.
Wang called upon the three nations to foster a sense of strategic autonomy, uphold regional unity and stability, reject a return to Cold War mentality, and safeguard against the influence of bullying and domination, as stated by the Chinese foreign ministry. While he refrained from explicitly mentioning the United States, Wang alluded to “certain major countries outside the region” that have endeavored to undermine unity for their own territorial gains, according to the ministry’s statement.
Wang warned that if this trend persists, it would not only significantly impede the smooth progress of trilateral cooperation but also escalate tension and confrontation in the region. He emphasized the paramount importance of resolving disputes through dialogue and consultation, while vehemently opposing any rhetoric or actions that might plunge the region into armed conflict. In addition, during the event held in Qingdao, an eastern coastal city, Wang called for expediting discussions on establishing free trade zones and facilitating smoother trade flows among the neighboring countries.
However, Wang reaffirmed China’s opposition to Japan’s proposed plan of discharging treated water from the Tokyo Electric Power Co’s Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea, citing concerns about its potential adverse effects on the marine ecosystem and human safety.
The event witnessed participation from South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin and Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa, who addressed the forum through video conferencing.