China’s top diplomat has taken an implicit swipe at Japan and South Korea for strengthening trilateral ties with the U.S. and urged his country’s two neighbors to remember their "roots" and work together for the benefit of Asia and the world.

In a video shared by Chinese state-run media, Wang Yi told Japanese and South Korean attendants at a trilateral forum on Monday that most Westerners can’t tell Chinese, Japanese and South Koreans apart.

“No matter how blonde our hair is dyed or how sharp we change our nose, we can never become a European or American, we can never become a Westerner,” Wang said. “We must know where our roots lie.”