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China snubs Abe’s call for talks after new row
January 24, 2014, 5:52 am

China has condemned Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for visiting Tokyo's Yasukuni shrine last month that honours war dead including convicted war criminals [Xinhua]

China has condemned Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for visiting Tokyo’s Yasukuni shrine last month that honours war dead including convicted war criminals [Xinhua]

China on Thursday dismissed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s call for talks with Chinese leaders, arguing that it is “insincere” especially in the light of Abe’s new justifications for his controversial shrine visit.

“We have repeatedly stated our position on this. The Japanese leader should not dream of having empty talks while refusing to acknowledge his mistakes and continuing to make negative remarks on China,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a press briefing in Beijing on Thursday.

“It is Abe himself who shuts the door for dialogue with China,” said the spokesman.

China and South Korea have condemned Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for visiting Tokyo’s Yasukuni shrine last month that honours war dead including convicted war criminals.

Seoul announced it was furious with the “deplorable” act, and Beijing labelled the visit “absolutely unacceptable” and summoned Japan’s ambassador.

While trying to justify the visit, Abe told the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday that his “praying for the souls of the departed” should be regarded as “quite natural for a leader of any country in the world.”

The Chinese spokesperson hit back on Thursday asking Abe to put himself “in the shoes of the victimized people”.

“If the Japanese leader was the descendant of the victims of WWII, or of the people forced to be wartime laborers and sex slaves, or of victims of bacteriological tests conducted by Japan’s No. 731 unit on live humans in China from the 1930s throughout WWII, would he still visit the Yasukuni Shrine?” Qin retorted.

The spokesman said the controversial shrine was once a spiritual tool and symbol of Japanese militarism, and the Japanese Prime Minister is now glorifying the aggression and challenging the post-WWII international order.

Nationalist passions are being fanned in all the three Asian nations as China, Japan and South Korea are embroiled in a number of territorial disputes in the East China Sea.

China also said public opinion in Japan is not squarely behind Abe’s move pointing out five of six major Japanese newspapers critical off Abe’s move.

“How can Abe win the trust of Japan’s neighbors and the world if local papers do not even believe in him?” Qin asked.

In an editorial after Abe’s visit, the Japan Times said it was a “thoughtless act”.

“Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit Thursday to Yasukuni Shrine, Japan’s war shrine, is a thoughtless act that could lead Japan into isolation in the international community. It also revealed his shallow understanding of the immense destruction that Japan’s wars in the 1930s and 1940s brought about and the role that Yasukuni Shrine played in wartime Japan,” read the editorial.

The spokesperson also reminded Abe of former Japanese prime minister Tomiichi Murayama who had once said that Japan, through colonial rule and aggression, had caused great damage and suffering to people of many countries, particularly in Asia.

Meanwhile, the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Thursday in the Swiss city of Montreux said Abe’s comments are “unacceptable”.

“Abe’s argument only suggests that he is still obstinately sticking to an erroneous historical perception which goes against both the conscience of human beings and the generally acknowledged truth on the world,” Yi said.

Yasukuni was established in the mid-19th Century to commemorate the war dead that also enshrines hundreds of convicted World War 2 criminals.

 

TBP and Agencies

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