The joint statement from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and their Japanese counterparts called China’s behavior inconsistent with the international order, Reuters reported.
It expressed concern over threats to Taiwan, human rights in Xinjiang, China’s activities in the South China Sea and “unilateral action that seeks to change the status quo” over Japan-controlled East China Sea islands that China also claims.
Addressing a regular daily briefing on Wednesday, Zhao blasted the joint US-Japan statement.
“The US-Japan joint statement is a malicious attack on China’s foreign policy and grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs, in an attempt to harm China’s interest,” he said, calling Japan “a strategic vassal” of the United States and asserting China’s “indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea and the adjacent waters.”
“But the US attempt to deliberately mislead public opinion before the meeting and exert pressure on China will not succeed," Zhao said. “We urge the US side to adhere to the basic norms of international relations and not to engage in things that endanger China’s core interests," according to AP.
Zhao’s comments came a day before Blinken is due to meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and top foreign policy adviser Yang Jiechi in Alaska.
There was no indication that the Alaska talks had been derailed and Zhao said China was prepared to discuss its policies on Xinjiang and Hong Kong.
The Chinese official said topics such as Hong Kong and Xinjiang would not be off the table when top US and Chinese officials meet in Alaska, which will be the first such high-level talks since US President Joe Biden took office.
“We have never said that during the dialogue we can’t mention Hong Kong and Xinjiang issues. We will state our position to the US side,” Zhao told a regular daily briefing, although he said such pressure from the US side ahead of talks is not acceptable.
“Accepting the US invitation demonstrates our goodwill and sincerity,” he said.
Blinken and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin held talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi on Tuesday.
Blinken said the Biden administration is committed to work with US allies as they face challenges from China and its ally North Korea, which is pursuing an illicit nuclear weapons program.