China slams Japanese politicians for Yasukuni Shrine visit

By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |   April 21, 2017 at 12:51 PM
Sign up for our weekly Korea Now newsletter
An exclusive report putting perspective on the week's most important developments.

April 21 (UPI) -- China expressed its displeasure with Japanese politicians after a group of more than 90 Tokyo lawmakers visited Japan's controversial Yasukuni Shrine on Friday.

Beijing's foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters at a regular press briefing that Beijing "urges Japan to take a look at its history of invasions, and to deeply apologize."

"We [also] urge them to maintain a distance from militarism and in action restore the trust of their neighbors in Asia, as well as that of the international community," Lu said.

On Friday, Japanese politicians including communications minister Sanae Takaichi, paid their respects to Japan's war dead at Yasukuni, Kyodo News reported.

Takaichi defended the action and said, "The way we commemorate [the dead] shouldn't turn into a diplomatic issue," according to the Japanese press report.

Seiichi Eto, an aide to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, accompanied Takaichi and the others.

Abe did not visit the Shinto shrine on Friday but instead sent a ritual offering, a biannual "sacred tree," according to Kyodo.

China's foreign ministry criticized the move.

"Yasukuni Shrine enshrines World War II criminals, and we have continued to strongly oppose the wrongful behavior of senior Japanese politicians," Lu said. "We urge [Japan] to abide by the spirit of the four political documents and four agreements between China and Japan."

The four-point consensus promotes the development of a "mutually beneficial relationship" between the two countries and was signed in 2014.

The Japanese visit marked the first day of an annual spring festival.

South Korea's foreign ministry also criticized the visit and described Yasukuni as a shrine that "glorifies Japan's past colonial exploitation and war of aggression, and also enshrines war criminals."

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more news from UPI.com
Related UPI Stories
share with facebook
share with twitter
Topics: Shinzo Abe
Trending Stories