Beijing on Wednesday dismissed media reports that a Chinese diplomat was engaged in spying in Japan as “totally groundless”, but confirmed he had returned to China.
The 45-year-old, a former member of the intelligence service who was first secretary at China’s Tokyo embassy, refused to surrender to police and fled Japan amid claims he was a spy, Japan’s Kyodo News agency reported Tuesday.
“The reports alleging espionage are totally groundless,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told reporters.
Liu identified the diplomat as Li Chengguang, a scholar on Japan with the leading government think-tank the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, who had been assigned to the economic section of China’s embassy.
“He has returned to China after completing his tenure in Japan,” Liu said.
On Tuesday, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura declined to comment on the news report.