China irked by Japan's PM visiting shrine

March 6, 2004 at 10:58 AM

BEIJING, March 6 (UPI) -- China's foreign minister Saturday strongly criticized Japan's prime minister's for visits to a war shrine, the Kyodo news agency reported.

Li Zhaoxing termed Junichiro Koizumi's visits to the Yasukuni Shrine as "unacceptable" and an "extremely prominent" issue in Sino-Japanese relations. Li also said the visits "deeply hurt the feelings of Chinese and Asian people."

The Shinto shrine is dedicated to 2.4 million Japanese military personnel and officials who have died since 1853 in Japan's wars. Seven executed war criminals are among those enshrined there.

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