Japan expresses concerns to China about territorial waters, Hong Kong, Uighur situation

April 5, 2021 7:46 AM EDT

FILE PHOTO: Japan's Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi looks on during a statement to the media at the Itamaraty Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, January 8, 2021. REUTERS/Adriano Machado/File Photo

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi on Tuesday expressed strong concerns to his Chinese counterpart about Chinese incursions into territorial waters, the situation in Hong Kong and the human rights situation of China's Uighur minority.

China's extensive territorial claims in the East and South China Seas have become a priority issue in an increasingly testy Sino-U.S relationship and are a security concern for Japan.

In a phone conversation with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Motegi expressed "strong concern" about China's incursions into territorial waters, as well as the Hong Kong situation and human rights issues concerning the Uighur minority, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"He also strongly called for concrete action," the statement said but did not give further details.

China claims a group of uninhabited Japan-controlled islets, called the Senakaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. The issue has plagued bilateral relations for years.

The two also discussed a broad range of regional issues and agreed on the importance of international cooperation to solve the situation in Myanmar, where a coup has been followed by a brutal military crackdown on street protests.

(Reporting by Elaine Lies; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Steve Orlofsky)

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