BFF-44 China dismisses Japan protest over barred reporter

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BFF-44

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China dismisses Japan protest over barred reporter

BEIJING, Aug 30, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – China on Thursday told Japan to “rein in
its journalists” after Tokyo lodged a protest over Beijing blocking a
Japanese reporter from covering a meeting between top diplomats from the two
countries.

On Wednesday, the Chinese foreign ministry excluded a reporter from the
Sankei Shimbun — a Japanese conservative daily critical of China — from a
media pool covering the start of a meeting between China’s Foreign Minister
Wang Yi and Japanese vice foreign minister Takeo Akiba.

Other Japanese media covering the event in Beijing then boycotted the pool
coverage in protest.

Japan’s top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga confirmed Tokyo had lodged
a protest with China over the incident.

“The Japanese government believes that respect for basic human rights
including freedom of expression is a universal value in the international
community, and ensuring those rights is important in any country,” Suga told
reporters in Tokyo.

But Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying dismissed the
criticism, saying Beijing had been “wrongfully accused”.

“The Japanese government needs to rein in its own journalists,” she told
reporters.

“They should ensure that their media respects their host country, follows
the rules… so as to enhance mutual trust and understanding between the two
countries, instead of doing the opposite, this is common sense.”

Akiba, who was in Beijing ahead of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to
China expected in October, also protested to his Chinese opposite number Le
Yucheng, Suga said.

Suga however said bilateral relations between the two regional rivals are
improving.

“The date of Prime Minister Abe’s visit is under coordination right now,”
Suga said, adding that “we hope to push up to a new stage the relationship
between Japan and China through visits by high level officials.”

Fumihiko Iguchi, executive officer of the Sankei Shimbun, described
Beijing’s actions as “unfair obstruction of legal newsgathering activities
that cannot be ignored.”

“We express our regret,” he said in a Wednesday statement, adding that the
daily “will do our best to continue giving our readers accurate information
about the situation in China”.

BSS/AFP/RY/1643 hrs