BEIJING — Chinese President Jiang Zemin praised Tokyo’s basic stance regarding Taiwan on Friday but hinted that China is wary of Japan’s ongoing review of defense cooperation with the United States.
Jiang made the comments in a meeting with Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, who is currently on a four-day visit to China.
Referring to explanations that Hashimoto gave in the Chinese capital regarding the defense cooperation review, Jiang said that Hashimoto’s “behavior in the last two days has softened the feelings of the Chinese people,” according to Japanese officials.
But Jiang told Hashimoto that Beijing is keeping a close eye on the security alliance between Japan and the U.S. — a comment apparently designed to express China’s concern over the defense cooperation review and the treatment of Taiwan in the review process.
“I think you understand why we are sensitive about this matter,” Jiang said.
“In Japan today, militarist thinking is still alive in some quarters,” Jiang was also quoted as telling Hashimoto during an 80-minute meeting at Zhongnanhai, the Beijing quarters for the top Chinese leadership.