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China FM chides Abe's war shrine visit for taking Japan down 'dangerous road'

2014/01/14 10:10

BEIJING, Jan. 14 (Yonhap) -- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has criticized Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for recently paying homage to a controversial war shrine, saying the move risked leading Japan down "a dangerous road."

   While relations between China and Japan have never been good because of their shared history and territorial disputes, ties have worsened recently due to Abe's Dec. 26 visit to the Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo that honors 14 convicted Class-A war criminals and millions of other war dead. South Korea also reacted with fury to Abe's visit to the shrine.

"What deserves our attention is that 68 years after World War II came to its end, Japan remains unwilling to face up to its past of aggression and its leader has gone so far as to pay homage to the Yasukuni Shrine," Wang said in a signed message posted on the ministry's website late on Monday.

"Japan's attitude toward its past of militarist aggression contrasts sharply with that of Europe which made a thorough condemnation of Nazi crimes," Wang said.

"The Japanese leader, by trying to turn back the wheel of history, is leading his country down a dangerous road," Wang said, calling for the international community "to stay vigilant and stand firmly for human conscience and the post-war international order."

   Abe's visit to the Yasukuni shrine marked the first time in seven years that Japan's sitting prime minister has visited the shrine, which is a reminder for both Koreans and Chinese of Japan's atrocities during World War II.

Japan ruled the Korean Peninsula as a colony in the early part of the 20th century and controlled much of China during World War II.