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China Daily Website

Japanese war stance concerns diplomats

Updated: 2013-10-10 00:12
By Zhang Yunbi in Beijing and Chen Weihua in Washington ( China Daily)

Beijing warns of consequences if Tokyo persists with Yasukuni visits

Senior Chinese diplomats have expressed deep concern over the misrepresentation by some Japanese politicians of Tokyo's defeat during World War II.

Tokyo has long underscored its suffering following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, but has "deliberately shied away" from the fact that it victimized its Asian neighbors, including China and Korea, Chinese analysts said.

Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai said some Japanese political figures believe Japan was only defeated by the US and its atomic bombs, "so it is only necessary to form a bond with the US, and it is not that necessary to take care of the concerns of other countries".

Cui, who was China's ambassador to Japan from 2007 to 2009, said in Washington on Tuesday that it was wrong "to think that Japan was defeated only by the US during World War II. Japan was also defeated by peace-loving people in Asia".

On Wednesday, Beijing warned Tokyo that it would face grave consequences if new provocations are made regarding the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japan War dead including 14 Class-A war criminals from World War II.

Isao Iijima, adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, said on Monday he will push for Abe to pay a pilgrimage to the shrine in October. The adviser said the two leaders from China and Japan may even achieve a bilateral meeting "after Abe makes such a visit", local media reported.

"Currently the China-Japan relationship is faced with serious difficulties. If the Japanese side makes new provocations regarding the Yasukuni Shrine issue, it will lead to consequences that may be more serious," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

Japan should "have a clear vision on this issue" and it is not expected to make a miscalculation over the situation, she said.

Feng Zhaokui, an expert on Japanese studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said it is a shared duty for all stakeholders of the international community to prevent the spreading of Japan's militaristic mentality.

"But for the sake of its strategic interests, Washington has, to some degree, turned a blind eye to the growing right-wing forces within Japan in the past few decades despite the US role as a key member of the Allied forces," Feng said.

Abe frequently talked about the concept of "active pacifism" — increasing Japan's engagement in safeguarding the world's peace and stability — during his trip to New York for the United Nations General Assembly in September.

Earlier this month, chiefs of foreign affairs and defense from the US and Japan vowed greater engagement in the region.

Zhou Yongsheng, a professor of Japanese studies at China Foreign Affairs University, said Tokyo is underlining the necessity of helping its US ally to justify its impulse for implementing overseas military operations.

"Abe did not say even one word about the history of ‘comfort women' — sexual slavery forced by the Japanese army during the war — when he was telling the Western world that his country is seeking peace."

Cui, the ambassador, said "it will be a big issue", if Japan continues to take an incorrect outlook on history.

"Because this is not only connected to the postwar international order, but also the very interests of the people in the Asia-Pacific region, including those in Japan," he said.

Cui said he hopes "Japan can make the right choice".

He made the remarks after giving a speech about China's foreign policy and China-US relations at his alma mater, the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, on Tuesday.