China brought its latest concern against Japan to the United Nations, calling into question Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s motives for visiting a controversial war shrine and urged him to correct his mistaken outlook on history. PM Abe’s visit to the infamous Yasukuni Shrine, which honors their wartime dead including class A war criminals, enraged both China and South Korea and even raised concerns from Japan’s ally, the United States.
China’s UN envoy Liu Jieyi said, “It all boils down to whether the leader of a country should stand on the side of maintaining the principles and purposes of the charter of the United Nations or to side with war criminals,” referring to China and South Korea’s suffering under Japanese aggression during the Second World War. He further stated that “the international community should remain vigilant and issue a warning… that Abe must correct his erroneous outlook of history, he must correct his mistakes and he must not slip further down the wrong path.”
Japan’s UN Ambassador Motohide Yoshikawa later countered the accusation and said in a statement that the visit to the shrine was not to praise militarism or pay homage to war criminals. He said, “Prime Minister Abe visited the Yasukuni Shrine to pay his respects and pray for the souls of the war dead and renew the pledge that Japan shall never again wage war. It was nothing more, nothing less.”
Relations between the two countries have been strained over a dispute in ownership of several uninhabited islands in the East China Sea and while China said that it is willing to talk to Japan to discuss the issue, it has also accused the prime minister of not being serious with resolving the dispute. Last week, both Chinese and Japanese envoys to Britain wrote an editorial in the Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, comparing each other to Lord Voldemort, the villain in the Harry Potter series.
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