Allowing Uighur activists to carry out their “anti-China activities” would be like doing nothing to pursue Aum Shinrikyo fugitives, the Chinese Ambassador to Japan said Thursday.
Cheng Yonghua said in a speech that China and Japan need to be mindful of their respective “serious concerns” for the further development of bilateral relations. He said that for China, the “Tibet and Xinjiang (Uyghur Autonomous Region) issues are those pertaining to the solidarity of its people and national unity.”
Cheng said China is “adamantly opposed” to any foreign country facilitating the activities of the Tibet and Xinjiang independence movements and criticized Japan for allowing a major group of exiled Uighurs to hold a general assembly in Tokyo last month.
When explaining China’s stance on the World Uyghur Congress, which Beijing claims is linked to terrorist groups, the ambassador cited the June 15 arrest of the last Aum Shinrikyo fugitive wanted in connection with the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system, after 17 years on the run.
“I wonder what kind of position the Japanese government would take” if wanted members of the doomsday cult “escaped into China and held a gathering,” Cheng said in the speech at a Tokyo hotel.
The envoy said the two countries, which this year are marking the 40th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties, need to address delicate issues in a calm manner for the benefit of future generations.