China, S.Korea protest Koizumi's shrine visit
Updated: 2005-10-17 11:30
TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi paid homage on Monday
at a shrine for war dead seen by critics as a symbol of Japan's past militarism,
drawing a swift protest from South Korea and outrage from China.
Wang Yi, Chinese ambassador to Japan, said Koizumi's visit to Yasukuni shrine
is a "grave provocation" to the Chinese people, a China News Service report
quoting Huang Xingyuan, spokesman of the Chinese embassy in Japan, as saying.
Ambassador Wang stressed that Koizumi must bear the historical responsibility
for damaging the China-Japan relations, saying China opposes Japanese PM
Koizumi's visit, "at any time or in any form," to the shrine where war
criminals were enshrined.
A spokesman for South Korean President
Roh Moo Hyun said the two leaders will not meet as planned at next month's Asia
Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting, and that talks for a bilateral summit in
December were off.
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
arrives at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo Monday, Oct. 17,
Roh and Koizumi were scheduled to meet one-on-one during the APEC meeting in
Busan, South Korea, spokesman Kim Man Soo told reporters at the presidential
Blue House, according to a Bloomberg report.
"We can no longer say that we're reviewing a summit for December," Kim said.
"There will be no separate bilateral meeting between the two leaders during the
Protestors holding a banner march to the
Japanese consulate in Hong Kong October 17,2005 to protest against
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine.
The banner in Chinese reads, 'Shame on Japanese militarism'.
Japan's relations with its neighbors have already chilled
because of Koizumi's annual visits to Tokyo's Yasukuni shrine, where war
criminals convicted by an Allied tribunal are honored along with the nation's
2.5 million war dead.
Koizumi -- clad in a dark suit rather than the traditional Japanese garb he
has worn on some past visits -- bowed, put his hands together in prayer and
stood silently in front of an outer shrine for a moment before striding back to
his car in front of a crowd that had gathered in a drizzling rain.