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China filed a diplomatic protest with Japan over a visit by a top Taiwanese official to mourn the death of its former leader, but refrained from firing off the sort of withering criticism that usually follows such contacts.

“After the sudden and unfortunate passing of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the Taiwan authorities latched onto the opportunity for political manipulation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Tuesday at a regular press briefing in Beijing, referring to Vice President William Lai’s journey.

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