China blasts Japanese P.M. for visit to shrine to war dead

Dec. 28, 2013 at 3:21 PM
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BEIJING, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe "insulted" the people of China with a visit to a shrine honoring World War II criminals, a Chinese official said Saturday.

State Councilor Yang Jiechi said Abe's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine is not a private or domestic matter, because he heads the Japanese government, China's official Xinhua News Agency reported.

"The Chinese people cannot be insulted, nor can people of Asia and the world be humiliated. Abe must own up to the wrongdoing, correct the mistake and take concrete measures to remove its egregious effects," Yang said in a statement. "We urge Abe to give up illusion and mend his ways, otherwise he will further discredit himself before Japan's neighbors and the international community."

Relations between the two countries have been tense recently, with China declaring an air zone over a group of disputed islands.

The Yasukuni shrine honors Japan's war dead, including some who were executed at the end of World War II as war criminals. A museum at the shrine presents a pro-Japanese version of the war.

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