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China expresses 'strong dissatisfaction' with Koizumi shrine visit
( 2002-04-21 16:21 ) (9 )

China Sunday reacted swiftly to a surprise visit by Japanese Prime Minister to a controversial war shrine, expressing its "strong dissatisfaction."

"China resolutely opposes visits by Japanese leaders, in whatever form and at whatever time, to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors class A war criminals," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

"We express our strong dissatisfaction with this action by the Japanese leader."

China's reaction came just hours after Koizumi's visit to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine, a symbol of Japan's wartime imperialism which honors 2.5 million war dead.

Those honored include 14 designated as Class A criminals by the Allies in trials that followed World War II.

The Chinese foreign ministry said Koizumi was not doing his country a favor by visiting the shrine.

"The Japanese behavior can only damage Japan's own image and make it even more difficult to win the trust of Asian people on historical issues," the statement said.

A visit by Koizumi to the shrine in August last year also triggered a strong Chinese reaction and protests in front of the Japanese embassy in Beijing.

China, which was at war with Japan from 1937 to 1945, is the main victim of Japanese imperialism and claims 35 million casualties.



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