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But given China’s recent aggressive moves in the region – Ladakh, South China Sea, Taiwan and Hong Kong, to name a few places – China-watchers are looking at the statements emanating out of Beijing more carefully.

The Chinese foreign ministry also urged Japan “to abide by the spirit of the four-principle consensus”.

The Diaoyu archipelago is located in the East China Sea and has for decades been claimed by China, Japan and Taiwan.

Nevertheless, after World War 2, Japan did not re-build its military (it was guaranteed protection by the US), focussing instead on becoming one of the world’s economic giants.

Japan had annexed these islands after it defeated China in the 1894-95 war.

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