Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Abe raises militarist specter

By Liu Xiaoming (China Daily) Updated: 2014-01-06 07:15

With these precedents, the world should be very alert. Mr Abe wishes to amend the post-war pacifist constitution, imposed on Japan by the USA. Close attention should be paid to his colleagues, such as Taro Aso, the deputy prime minister, who asserted that Japan could "learn" from Nazi Germany about revising constitutions. Mr Abe has worked hard to portray China as a threat, aiming to sow discord among Asia-Pacific nations, raising regional tensions and so creating a convenient excuse for the resurrection of Japanese militarism.

I explained in a newspaper article the key principles concerning the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, and pointed out the severe consequences of Japan's provocations. This time, I believe Mr Abe has continued his brinksmanship by visiting the Yasukuni Shrine; it has rekindled bitter memories of Japan's past-war crimes.

We know from history that a country that starts a war and ends up in defeat has two options. One is to face up squarely to its past, make sincere apologies and renounce militarism, as Germany did. The German approach has contributed to regional stability and world peace. It has earned respect and acclaim from the whole world.

The other option is to deny past aggression, allow militarism to rise and raise the threat of war. Unfortunately, Mr Abe's actions confirm that he favors the second option: he seems determined to lead Japan on to a perilous path. The international community should be on high alert.

Next week, The Railway Man, a film based on a true story, will be released. It tells the tragic story of a British POW tortured by the Japanese in the Second World War. The film is not only about the atrocities committed by his Japanese captors, but also how one of them is harrowed by his own past. His redemption is only effected through deep remorse and penitence.

China and Britain were wartime allies. Our troops fought shoulder to shoulder against Japanese aggressors and made enormous sacrifices. Sixty-eight years have passed since that horrible war. Yet there are always some incorrigible people in Japan who show no signs of remorse for war crimes. Instead, they seek to reinterpret history. They pose a serious threat to global peace. The Chinese will not allow such attempts. I am sure British and all other peace-loving folk will not remain indifferent.

China and Britain are both victors of the Second World War. We played a key role in establishing the post-war international order that has delivered great benefits for mankind. Our two countries have a common responsibility to work with the international community to oppose and condemn any words or actions aimed at invalidating the peaceful post-war consensus and challenging international order. We should join together both to uphold the UN Charter and to safeguard regional stability and world peace.

The author is the Chinese ambassador to the United Kingdom. The article was first carried by The Daily Telegraph with the title "China and Britain won the war together".

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