BEIJING, CHINA — China said Monday it had lodged complaints over a statement released at a first-of-its-kind summit of the leaders of the United States, South Korea, and Japan in which they criticised Beijing’s “aggressive behaviour”.
US President Joe Biden hosted the summit — described as launching a “new chapter” of close, three-way security cooperation — at the Camp David presidential retreat.
The three leaders said in a joint statement on Friday they opposed the “dangerous and aggressive behavior” of China in maritime disputes in the East and South China Sea.
Beijing hit back on Monday, saying the leaders had “smeared and attacked China on Taiwan-related and maritime issues, grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs and deliberately sowed discord between China and its neighbours”.
It also expressed “strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition and has lodged solemn representations with relevant parties”, foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a regular news briefing.
Camp David marks the first time the leaders of the United States, Japan and South Korea have met for a standalone summit, rather than on the sidelines of a larger event.
Biden praised the “political courage” of South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in turning the page on historical animosity.
Such a summit would have been unthinkable until recently due to the legacy of Japan’s harsh 1910-1945 occupation of the Korean peninsula.
The three leaders agreed to a multi-year plan of regular exercises in all domains and made a formal “commitment to consult” during crises, with Biden saying they would open a hotline.
The leaders also agreed to share real-time data on North Korea and to hold summits every year.
On Monday, Wang slammed the grouping as an example of an “attempt to revive Cold War mentality by inciting division and confrontation represented by various closed and exclusive small circles”.
‘China’s own business’
Biden insisted that the Camp David summit was not targeted at China.
But in the joint statement the leaders said they “strongly (opposed) any unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the waters of the Indo-Pacific”, referring to Beijing’s militarisation of small islands and reefs in the Asia-Pacific region.
The statement also referenced Taiwan, calling peace and stability on the issue “an indispensable element of security and prosperity in the international community”.
“There is no change in our basic positions on Taiwan, and we call for a peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues,” it said.
On Saturday, China’s People’s Liberation Army staged air and sea drills around Taiwan in what it said was a “stern warning” after the island’s vice president visited the United States.
“If relevant countries really care about peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, they should abide by the One-China principle, stop condoning and supporting separatists advocating for Taiwan independence and their activities, and take concrete actions to safeguard regional peace and stability,” Wang said on Monday.
“The Taiwan question is purely China’s internal affair. Solving the Taiwan question is China’s own business.”