China should acknowledge that the international community has concerns about its newly declared air defense identification zone in the East China Sea, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Monday after Beijing stepped up criticism of Tokyo for its “malicious slander.”
“China needs to face the reality that many countries in the world are concerned about the air defense identification zone and take it gravely,” Suga said at a press conference. “The ADIZ unjustifiably infringes upon freedom of overflight in international waters.”
At a weekend Japan-ASEAN summit in Tokyo, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sought to rally support from his counterparts in Southeast Asia, saying he is “deeply concerned” about China’s attempts to change the status quo in the East and South China seas.
China quickly hit back, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei expressing “strong anger at the Japanese leader for his malicious slander against China in the international arena.”
But Suga denied Monday that China, as it claimed, was singled out at the summit.
“The leaders stressed the importance of resolving disputes in a peaceful manner, but did not target any specific country,” Suga said.
Tokyo and Beijing have been at loggerheads over the sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands. China’s new ADIZ covers the Japanese-controlled islets, claimed by Beijing as the Diaoyu and Taiwan as Tiaoyutai.