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As Prime Minister Narendra Modi set off on a key visit to Japan, China on Thursday said that while it has no issues in New Delhi and Tokyo developing normal relations, they should respect “legitimate concerns” of neighbours. “Regarding what might be discussed by the two leaders, we note that Prime Minister Modi will kick off his visit to Japan. We have no problem with our neighbours developing normal relations,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told media briefing in Beijing replying to a question.
“We hope that when they develop their relationships, they can respect legitimate concerns of their neighbours and contribute to regional peace and stability,” he said. He declined to comment on reports that India will buy US-2 ShinMaywa amphibious aircraft from Japan, saying it is mere speculation. In September, Chinese Foreign Ministry reacted angrily to reports that Japan plans to sell weapons to India at a cheaper prices saying that such a move is disgraceful.
“We hold no objection to normal state to state cooperation including defence cooperation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told media briefing on September 13. “But if the report is true that if someone is making unrighteous move then this is very disgraceful,” she said while replying to a question about media reports that Japan plans to cut prices to sell 12 ShinMaywa US-2 amphibious aircraft designed for air-sea rescue in a $1.6 billion deal.
Ahead of Modi’s visit, Chinese official media warned that India may suffer “great losses” in bilateral trade if it joins Japan to ask China to abide by the international tribunal’s ruling quashing Beijing’s claims over the South China Sea (SCS). “India should beware of the possibility that by becoming embroiled in the disputes, it might end up being a pawn of the US and suffer great losses, especially in terms of business and trade, from China,” an op-ed article in state-run Global Times said yesterday.
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Citing Indian media reports that India is seeking support from Tokyo during Modi’s visit to Japan next week to issue a joint statement asking China abide by the July ruling of the tribunal on the SCS, the article said “India and China should put more efforts into resolving problems like the imbalance of their trade ties”. “India won’t benefit much by balancing China through Japan. It will only lead to more mistrust between New Delhi and Beijing,” it said.