China’s choice to attend Abe funeral aligned with ranking of Taiwan’s delegates

Pool via Reuters
Frank Hsieh, center, Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to Japan, waits in line to pay his respects during the state funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Nippon Budokan in Tokyo on Tuesday.

China’s representative at Tuesday’s state funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was a former science and technology minister who is not a member of the Chinese Communist Party.

While Beijing took into account what Chinese President Xi Jinping remarked about Abe having contributed to improving Japan-China relations, the selection of Wan Gang, the vice chairperson of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, was based on the fact that Abe was not the incumbent prime minister.

For last week’s state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II, China sent Vice President Wang Qishan to the United Kingdom.

Taipei announced Sept. 15 that it was sending Taiwan-Japan Relations Association Chairman Su Jia-chyuan, a former Taiwan assembly speaker, to Abe’s funeral with two other figures. Given that the three are not incumbent senior officials, Beijing is believed to have concluded that Taiwan’s selection was acceptable. A week later, it announced that Wan was China’s pick.

Japan included Taiwan among the names read aloud during flower offerings at the state funeral venue.

Regarding this treatment of Taiwan, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Tuesday, “Japan needs to … handle the relevant matters in strict accordance with the one-China principle and refrain from providing any platform or opportunity for ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces to engage in political manipulation.”