China warned Japan on Friday against interfering in Taiwan’s affairs following a media report saying Tokyo’s armed forces plan a tabletop exercise next week on the assumption that there will be a military clash between the Chinese mainland and the self-ruled island.
“The Taiwan issue is internal affairs of China. We hope the Japanese side will speak and act cautiously,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a press briefing, when asked about the Kyodo News report, adding that Tokyo should not take any action that would undermine peace and stability in the region.
The report, released Wednesday, said Japan’s Self-Defense Forces will conduct the simulated exercise from next Monday to Friday, with the U.S. military taking part as an observer.
Citing a Japanese government source, it said the purpose of the drill is to check how SDF members should perform new duties allowed under Japan’s new security law in the outbreak of a situation deemed to pose serious threats to the country’s peace and security.
The Global Times, a nationalistic tabloid affiliated with the Communist Party, also printed Friday a news story on the report, quoting a Chinese defense official as saying Beijing “firmly opposes” such an exercise that represents “deliberate provocations” to cross-strait relations.
The Chinese official is also quoted as saying it would “seriously damage China-Japan relations.”
The tabletop exercise will take place at a time when China is increasingly nervous and frustrated with the pro-independence leanings of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s views on the democratic island, which Beijing regards as a breakaway province awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.
The Japanese government source, however, said the exercise was planned before Trump, who takes office on Friday, was elected to be the next U.S. president in November.