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China says no dialogue with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe

  |   Dec. 30, 2013 at 10:15 PM
BEIJING, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- China, unrelenting in its criticism of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's recent visit to a war memorial shrine, ruled out any dialogue with him.

At his media briefing Monday in Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Chinese leaders will not have any talks with Abe.

"In regard to such a Japanese leader, the Chinese people will certainly not welcome him, and the Chinese leaders will unquestionably not speak with him either," Qin said, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. He was replying to a question on whether China will allow Abe to visit China or whether Chinese leaders will meet with Abe, the report said.

China has kept up its scathing attacks ever since Abe made a brief visit last week to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which honors Japanese who died during World War II and previous conflicts as well as war criminals.

Like China, South Korea too has criticized the visit as the shrine is seen as a symbol of Japan's past wartime militarism that had targeted both the countries.

Abe is the first Japanese prime minister to visit the shrine since 2006.

"Abe has made wrong calculations on China-Japan relations and made one mistake after another," Qin said, adding the Japanese leader himself has shut the door on Chinese leaders.

The spokesman said despite China's resolute opposition and solemn representations, Abe insisted on visiting the Yasukuni Shrine, Xinhua reported. Qin said the shrine visit was an attempt to overturn the verdict of the Tokyo trial of the war criminals and whitewash the history of aggression and colonial rule of other countries by Japanese militarism.

"Abe is responsible for the grim situation in current bilateral relations," Qin said.

The spokesman said Abe needs to admit his mistakes to the Chinese government and people and immediately correct them.

Earlier, Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi in a statement said Abe "must own up to the wrongdoing, correct the mistake and take concrete measures to remove its egregious effects."

Japan and China already are locked in a growing maritime dispute over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea currently under Japanese control. However, China also claims the islands. Tensions also have escalated since China's unilateral establishment of an air identification defense in November in the East China Sea.

After Abe's shrine visit, the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo also expressed disappointment, warning it will "exacerbate tensions with Japan's neighbors." The United States is Japan's closest ally.

Answering a question about China's latest attack, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf stressed Japan "is of course a valued ally and friend."

However, she said "we were disappointed that Japan's leadership has taken an action that will exacerbate tensions with Japan's neighbors" and expressed hope that Japan and its neighbors will find constructive ways to deal with sensitive issues and promote cooperation "in advance of all of our shared goals in the region."

After his visit, Abe had been quoted as saying his visit to the shrine was to pray for the souls of the war dead and not to honor war criminals. He also said his intention was not "at all to hurt the feelings of the Chinese and Korean people."

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