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FM: Japan needs to learn from Germany
(AFP/China Daily)
Updated: 2005-11-15 14:47

BUSAN, South Korea - Chinese foreign minister once again condemned Japanese leaders for worshipping war criminals and urged Tokyo to learn from Germany's rejection of Adolf Hitler and stop upsetting its Asian neighours, the AFP has reported.

The foreign ministers of China and the Republic of Korea (ROK) yesterday urged Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to realize how visits to the Yasukuni Shrine a symbol of the country's past militarism rekindle painful memories.
Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing (R) shakes hands with his South Korean counterpart Ban Ki-moon at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Busan November 15, 2005. [Xinhua]

Raising the stakes in the row over Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits to the notorious Yasukuni war shrine, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said in Busan Tuesday that Japan must show more remorse for wartime atrocities.

"If a German leader went and worshipped Hitler, worshipped the Nazis, how would the European people look at this? Would this hurt their feelings? You should think about this carefully," Li told reporters.

"Yet Japanese leaders are worshipping these war criminals that harmed so many Chinese people. What are they thinking? Are they even thinking that they are hurting the feelings of so many people of Asia?"

Li was speaking after talks at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum with South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon during which both countries condemned the shrine visits.

A senior ROK Foreign Ministry official told reporters Ban agreed with Li that the shrine visits should stop.

Ban told Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Aso in a meeting on Monday that Japanese politicians should halt their visits to Yasukuni.

Meanwhile, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Wang Yi said Koizumi's repeated visits to the shrine are a "knotty issue" in Sino-Japanese relations.

"Only if Japan unties this knot can it expect Sino-Japanese relations to improve, and exchanges of official visits by state leaders be possible," he wrote in a signed article published on Monday in Japan Business News.

Less than a month before this week's meetings, Koizumi made his fifth visit to the Yasukuni shrine since taking office. The war shrine honours 2.5 million war dead including 14 top war criminals from World War II.

Koizumi insists his visits to the shrine are to commemorate the dead, but many Asian countries see them as proof Japan has not come to terms with its past aggression.

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