China blasted former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for comments it saw as supporting Taiwan independence after he warned Beijing that any military crisis involving Taipei would draw in Japan and its U.S. ally.

China’s Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Hua Chunying told Japan’s ambassador to China, Hideo Tarumi, on Wednesday evening that Abe had brazenly supported Taiwan independence in a speech he made earlier in the day, according to a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement.

Hua said that Abe, who stepped down as prime minister last year citing ill health, had grossly interfered with China’s internal affairs and violated the basic norms of international relations, according to the statement. She urged Tarumi not to underestimate China’s power to defend its sovereignty.