Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, sparked an uproar of Chinese outrage this week when he referred to Taiwan as a country.
According to Newsweek, Suga listed Taiwan alongside Australia and New Zealand as countries that took strict measures to protect against COVID-19 during a face-to-face meetings with opposition leaders in his country.
“The prime minister’s comments in the National Diet were broadcast on national television, with China’s increasingly nationalistic social media demographic soon demanding a firm response from the government for Suga’s apparently inappropriate word choice,” reported Newsweek. “Suga ‘broke Japan’s long-standing promise not to regard Taiwan as a country,’ China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a daily press briefing on Thursday. China expresses its ‘strong dissatisfaction with the erroneous remarks’ and has ‘lodged solemn representations’ with Tokyo, said Wang. ‘China demands that Japan make an immediate clarification to undo the harm already caused, and guarantee a similar incident will never happen again,’