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China Blasts Japan for Foreign Ministry Statement

June 10, 1987

BEIJING (AP) _ China escalated its war of words against Japan today, accusing a Japanese Foreign Ministry official of ″malicious attacks″ on senior leader Deng Xiaoping.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Li Jinhua, in a weekly briefing, said the unnamed Japanese official’s reported comments that Deng was ″living in the clouds″ and did not necessarily represent the Chinese leadership were ″in disregard of even the basic diplomatic etiquette.″

She said the comments hurt the feelings of the Chinese people as well as diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Sino-Japanese relations, deeply scarred by the 1937-1945 Japanese invasion of China, improved after the normalizing of diplomatic ties in 1972. Japan is by far China’s largest trading partner and most important source of financial assistance.

But the ties have been hurt recently by Chinese criticism of Japan’s trade surplus, its alleged drift toward militarism and its stand on a court case in which ownership of a Kyoto student dormitory was awarded to Taiwan.

The high-level Foreign Ministry official reportedly told Japanese reporters in Tokyo last week that the 82-year-old Deng, who has been highly critical of Japan’s economic and defense policies, was divorced from reality.

The same day Deng, in a meeting in Beijing with Japanese opposition leader Junya Yano, issued some of his strongest criticisms of Japan.

Miss Li said Deng gave Yano ″earnest and well-meaning advice with regard to some problems that have occurred in the relations between the two countries, emphatically stating that there is no reason why China and Japan should not continue the development of their friendship.

″However, a leading member of the Japanese Foreign Ministry went so far as to make malicious attacks on Chairman Deng Xiaoping in public in disregard of even the basic diplomatic etiquette,″ she added.

She said the Chinese side made ″stern representations″ to Japan. Japanese Embassy Minister Hiroyuki Yushita was called to the Foreign Ministry and warned about the ″unfriendly remarks,″ Japanese sources said.

Miss Li said that ″certain persons in the Japanese Foreign Ministry have made most unfriendly remarks on more than one occasion which will have no good effects on Sino-Japanese relations.″

In Tokyo, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that ″so far we have no official comment″ on the latest Chinese charges.

The official said Kimio Fujita, director general of the ministry’s Asian Bureau, told Chinese Minister-Counselor Xu Dunxin on Monday that a recent statement by a senior ministry official was not an official statement and did not represent the ministry.