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Wang told an academic forum in Beijing that he hoped Japan had learned from its “inglorious” past and was looking at relations with China and South Korea with an entirely new perspective.
Japan occupied much of Southeast Asia, including China and the Korean Peninsula, during World War II.
During their occupation, Japanese imperial forces were accused of severe human rights violations including the raping and killing of millions.
“This certainly isn’t China and South Korea clinging on to old debts, but because for these three countries there is no way to avoid history, and it cannot be overlooked,” Wang said in remarks carried by the Chinese news agency Xinhua.
“We hope that Japan genuinely and sincerely reflects on all its past mistakes, simply and directly make a clean break with that inglorious past, take an entirely new outlook to join hands with the people of China and South Korea and get on the path to healthy, stable and sustainable development.”
Political leaders in China and South Korea have criticized calls by conservative Japanese politicians to present a sanitized and sympathetic version of Japan’s history to the public and in textbooks, sidelining wartime atrocities committed by Japan.
Both China and South Korea have claimed that Japan has failed to atone for wartime atrocities committed in occupied Asia before and during the war.
Wang’s comments come just four days ahead of the resumption of a summit of the three countries.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will meet with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts during the tripartite summit in Seoul from October 31 to November 2.
Japan appears to be making inroads to improving its relations with China and South Korea.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi during his visit to Tokyo on October 14, that the two countries should work toward a mutually beneficial strategic relationship.
“I believe we should not excessively focus on our unfortunate past history, but that we should build future-oriented Japan-China relations,” Abe said.
Abe also said that he expects to hold Japan-China and Japan-South Korea meetings on the sidelines of the summit.
For her part, South Korean President Park Geun-hye said she was looking forward to a bilateral meeting with Abe.
The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies