China infringing on Japan's sovereignty: Kishida tells Asia leaders

Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (C) attends the 2nd ASEAN Global Dialogue as part of the 40th and 41st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Summits in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 13 November 2022. The summit runs through 13 November 2022. Photo: EPA/KITH SEREY

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told Asian leaders on Sunday that China was continuously, and increasingly, taking actions that infringed on Japan's sovereignty and escalated tensions in the region.

Speaking at the East Asia Summit in Cambodia, PM Kishida described ensuring peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait as important for regional security, and voiced “serious concern” over the human rights situation in Uyghur, according to a statement issued by Japan's foreign ministry.

There has been continued, increasing actions by China in the East China Sea that violate Japan's sovereignty. China also continues to take actions that heighten regional tension in the South China Sea,” PM Kishida told the meeting, according to the statement.

The Japanese PM's remarks follow those of U.S. President Joe Biden, who stressed to Asian leaders on Sunday the importance of peace in the Taiwan Strait and making sure freedom of navigation in the South China Sea continues.

The conditions of the Uyghurs, a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority inhabiting the western rim of the country, the Xinjiang region, have been a red rag to China, which has denied any abuse of the religiously and ethnically distinct people. Beijing has been repressing the 11 million-Uyghurs-strong minority by arbitrarily detaining, according to the Council on Foreign Relations figures, between eight hundred thousand to two million and relegating them to internment camps, which China calls “Vocational Education and Training Centres” or, simply, “re-education camps”.

“Beyond the detentions, Uyghurs in the region have been subjected to intense surveillance, forced labour, and involuntary sterilizations, among other rights abuses,” the American think-tank said.

But China not only continues to disavow clamping down on the Uyghurs. It has also sent a government delegation to Geneva to counter what it says are erroneous findings by the U.N. rights office.

The purpose of PM Kishida’s presence in Cambodia is to participate in the East Asian summit, which brings together 18 countries accounting for half of the global economy including Japan, the United States, China and Southeast Asian nations. He will also join the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Indonesia's Bali that kicks off on Tuesday.