China / Government

China opposes Japan's bid for wartime facilities' recognition

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-05-14 20:45

BEIJING, May 14 -- China on Thursday said it opposed Japan's bid to have 23 coal mines, shipyards and other early industrial zones recognized as world heritage sites.

According to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying, on the list there are some facilities where forced laborers from China, the Korean Peninsula and other Asian countries toiled during World War II.

The Republic of Korea (ROK) has condemned Japan's move as "distortion" and an attempt to gloss over crimes committed during a brutal colonial and wartime past.

Hua expressed China's grave concern over Japan's move and urged Japan to acknowledge and properly respond to such concerns.

Hua said a world heritage application should promote peace as upheld by UNESCO and the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

However, reasonable demands by former forced laborers have never been resolved nor received any response from the Japanese side. "If Japan ignores the slave labor issues in theses industrial zones, what kind of signal is the country sending to the international community?" Hua said.

Earlier this week, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) gave the green light to Japan's attempt to gain recognition for the sites, according to Japanese media.

ICOMOS evaluates cultural relics for UNESCO's World Heritage Committee. Hua said China believes that the World Heritage Committee will handle the issue in a responsible way.

When asked to comment on security bills approved by Japan's cabinet on Thursday to significantly expand the scope of overseas operations by the self-defense forces, Hua hoped Japan would follow the path of peaceful development and play a constructive role in Asia.

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