Japan's Abe describes China's UNESCO registration as 'regrettable'

In Beijing’s “Documents of Nanjing Massacre,” China claims Japanese troops slayed 300,000 people, including women and children, during its wartime occupation of the Chinese city.
By Elizabeth Shim  |  Oct. 14, 2015 at 10:17 PM
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TOKYO, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- Japan's Prime Minister voiced his "regret" during a meeting Wednesday with China's top foreign policy official, after Beijing registered its Nanjing Massacre documents with UNESCO.

Shinzo Abe and Yang Jiechi briefly met in Tokyo but could not agree on a way to address wartime history that has generated animosity between Asia's two largest economies, Kyodo News reported.

"I believe we should not excessively focus on our unfortunate past history, but that we should build future-oriented Japan-China relations," Abe told Yang, an official in Tokyo said.

Yang, however, took a different approach, and reportedly told Abe that acknowledging the past is an important step in moving "toward the future."

In Beijing's "Documents of Nanjing Massacre," China claims Japanese troops slayed 300,000 people, including women and children, during its wartime occupation of the Chinese city.

Last Friday, UNESCO had accepted China's application to its Memory of the World program, and Abe reportedly said the registration of the Chinese documents was "regrettable," The Japan Times reported.

In other areas, Japan and China appeared to be moving toward finding solutions to recent tensions.

Abe said he looked forward to meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the coming weeks, when Abe also is expected to meet with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and South Korean President Park Geun-hye in a Northeast Asia trilateral summit.

That meeting would be the first of its kind since May 2012.

Japan and China have been at odds over Chinese activity near Japanese waters near the disputed Senkaku Islands.

The islets are under Japan's administration, but also are claimed by China and Taiwan. Abe and Yang agreed on Wednesday Tokyo and Beijing would begin a communication mechanism to avoid accidental conflicts.

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