Canberra, Australia (AP) — Japan’s relations with China were no better than the infamous tense China-Australia relations, Australia’s Japanese ambassador said Wednesday.
Relations between Japan and China are often taken as an example of Australia, which shows how productive relations with Beijing can be maintained despite national differences. However, Ambassador Shingo Yamagami said he has faced common misconceptions about Japan-China relations in Australia since taking office last December.
“The point of the debate is that Japan is far superior to Australia in dealing with Japan’s neighbor China,” Yamagami told Australia’s National Press Club.
“My simple answer is no way. I think I disagree with such an argument. Why? Because Japan is struggling every day,” Yamagami added.
He said Japan, Australia and other countries need to work together to tackle the challenges posed by the rise of China.
“Don’t worry. You’re doing a great job. We’re on the same boat, so we need to work together,” said Yamagami.
China has become increasingly hostile to Australia since the beginning of last year when the Australian government demanded an independent investigation into the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Relations between China and Australia have deteriorated in recent years, Australia has blocked investment in China’s technology and key infrastructure, and China has taken tariffs and other measures to reduce imports from Australia.
Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, President of the Asian Society, New York-based think tank, Chinese historian and former Australian diplomat are among Australian foreign policy critics who praise Japan’s example with China. ..
Rudd urged both Beijing and Canberra to “clean up the megaphone” in bilateral transactions. Japan, a close ally of the United States like Australia, has in recent years managed its relations with China through certificates rather than words, without retaliatory trade sanctions, Rudd said.
President Joe Biden’s administration and Japan recently said they would support Australia’s opposition to China’s economic sanctions campaign with informal trade sanctions and what they said.
Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga argues that trade should never be used as a tool to exert political pressure, Mr Yamagami said.
“I admire how Australia faced tremendous pressure in a consistent, principled and resilient way,” he said.