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BUT official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China issued a statement denying “involvement” in the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The statement came from the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Saturday through spokesman Zhao Lijian.
Chinese officials from the ministry said they were shocked by the news of Abe’s death and continued the previous condolences sent to the people of Japan.
“Of course, we would like to say hello to his family,” said Lijian, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman.
“I have just fully expressed the position of the Chinese government that this unexpected incident should not be associated with Sino-Japanese relations,” Lijian said.
Lijian reportedly declined to comment on social media trends in China celebrating Abe’s death.
Abe’s policy for Japan first ruffled feathers in East Asia, where Japan has had less than cordial relations with China and South Korea since the end of World War II.
Japan and China are arguing about dominion of the Senkaku Islands, disputed archipelago between mainland China and Japan.
The People’s Republic of China previously issued a brief statement mourning the death of the former prime minister.
Beijing used a cordial tone in its Friday announcement despite years of tension between the Abe cabinet and the Chinese Communist Party. The late prime minister regularly butted heads Chairman Xi Jinping while in the office.
“Former Prime Minister Abe has contributed to the improvement of Sino-Japanese relations during his term,” a Chinese embassy official told Reuters on Friday.