Top U.S., Japan officials say China's behaviour inconsistent with international order

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hold a joint news conference with Japan's Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi after their 2+2 Meeting at Iikura Guest House in Tokyo, Japan, March 16, 2021. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/Pool

TOKYO (Reuters) - Senior officials from United States and Japan on Tuesday raised concerns about China’s behaviour in Hong Kong, Xinjiang and other areas and said it was inconsistent with the international order.

A joint statement from U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and their Japanese counterparts said they had serious concerns “about recent disruptive developments in the region such as the China Coast Guard Law.”

They said they had discussed Washington’s “unwavering commitment” to defend Japan in the East China Sea, and reiterated their opposition to China’s “unlawful” maritime claims in South China Sea.

China’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday it has lodged stern representations with the United States and Japan over the statement and is strongly urging the two countries to stop interfering in its internal affairs.

“The U.S.-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. China deplores and rejects this,” ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a regular news briefing.

Reporting by Ju-min Park and Antoni Slodkowski; Additional reporting by Cate Cadell in Beijing, Editing by Andrew Heavens and Kim Coghill