Japan's announcement that they will be releasing radioactive water into the sea appears to have stirred up tensions in the region.
China's foreign ministry has already expressed its grave concern over the matter, with spokesperson Zhao Lijian calling the decision "highly irresponsible", and warning that Beijing could take further action.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Zhao continued his tirade against Japan in a news briefing after a Japanese official said the water from the Fukushima nuclear plant was safe to drink.
"A Japanese official said it’s okay if you drink this water. Then please drink it," said Zhao.
The outspoken Chinese diplomat later published a similar message from his Twitter account; "Ocean is not Japan's trash can; and Pacific Ocean is not japan's sewer (sic)," he wrote.
Ocean is not Japan's trash can; and #PacificOcean is not Japan's sewer. It should not expect the world to pay the bill for its treatment of wastewater. #Japanese official said the water is "OK to drink", why doesn't him take a sip first? They should not pretend to be ignorant.— Lijian Zhao 赵立坚 (@zlj517) April 14, 2021
"They should not pretend to be ignorant," added Zhao.
International endorsements and concerns
The Chinese Foreign Ministry official also tweeted about the United States' endorsement of Japan's plans, accusing the western power of adopting "double-standards".
According to Reuters, the U.S. said on Apr. 13 that Japan's approach was "in accordance with globally accepted nuclear safety standards".
The U.S. Department of State also noted Japan's transparency regarding the matter.
According to the BBC, Japan has argued that the dumping of water is safe as it has been "processed to remove all radioactive elements".
The International Atomic Energy Agency chief had said that controlled water discharges into the sea are commonplace, after safety and environmental impact assessments, for other nuclear power plants as well. Although he underlined that the amount of water at Fukushima made this a "unique and complex case”.
South Korea and Taiwan have also expressed their concerns over the impact the dumping will have on international public health and safety and the interests of people in neighbouring countries.
Top image from Zhao Lijian's twitter