“Words expose intention to defame China”

China on Friday reacted with anger to reported comments by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that appeared to draw a parallel between Russia's recent actions in Crimea and Chinese claims on disputed East China Sea islands.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry accused Mr. Abe of attempting to “defame” China, after the Japanese leader had been quoted as saying during the recent meeting of G7 (Group of Seven) leaders, following Russia's expulsion from the grouping, that the Crimea issue had parallels in Asia. “What’s happening in Crimea isn’t merely an issue for this region, but it could happen in Asia,” Mr. Abe said according to Japanese media reports. “In that sense,” he added, “it is an issue for the whole of the international community.”

Relations between China and Japan have been strained over the disputed East China Sea islands, known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan. Responding to Mr. Abe’s remarks, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said Mr. Abe had “hypocritically pledged to improve China-Japan relations while speaking ill of China in the international community.”

“His words again exposed his intention to confuse the public and defame China,” he was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua news agency, adding that China had the “unswerving will to safeguard its national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

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