“It is rare that a country’s leader brazenly distorts facts, attacks its neighbor and instigates antagonism between regional countries,” said China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei. “Such behavior goes against the will of the international community. . . .We have solemnly demanded the Japanese side immediately clarify and explain.”
Japan quickly tried to backtrack from the comments Abe made to the Post. ”As I said, as the prime minister said, we value mutually beneficial relations with China based on strategic interests,” declared Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.
Abe had told the Post that China has a “deeply ingrained” need to antagonize foreign countries over disputed territory, among other provocative statements. A transcript of the interview is here.
China’s response was, you might say, predictable: Abe’s comments were never likely to be easily swallowed in Beijing. Needless to say—as talk of war swirls ceaselessly on the Chinese airwaves and Washington and Beijing escalate a fight over computer hacking—Abe’s confrontational stance is pushing both all three countries closer to the edge of the cliff.