The cause for the sour ties between China and Japan was that Japan's leader fails to face historical realities, manifested by successive visits to the Yasukuni shrine, Premier Wen Jiabao said at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on Monday evening.
Wen made the remarks after attending the 9th China-ASEAN and ASEAN Plus China, Japan and Republic of Korea Summit, and the first East Asia Summit, at which he delivered a major speech calling for joint efforts to build common prosperity in East Asia.
Asked by a Japanese reporter whether the sour ties between China and Japan would affect the summits, Wen said that a meeting among Chinese, Japanese and South Korean leaders was originally planned as part of the series of ASEAN meetings, but it has been postponed because the atmosphere and foundation for the meeting is not good.
Wen said the responsibility for the postponement did not lie with the Chinese.
The Japanese aggression against China during the WWII was a tremendous disaster for the Chinese people, with casualties amounting to as many as 35 million, Wen said.
China has consistently seen the Yasukuni shrine that honors Japan's Class A war criminals from World War II as a symbol of Japan's past militarism. Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro's visits to the shrine greatly hurt the feelings of the Chinese people, the Korean people and the peoples of other Asian countries.
China and Japan are neighbors, and the Chinese government has held that developing long-term and stable Chinese-Japanese ties is in conformity with the fundamental interests of the two peoples, and is "our unswerving policy," Wen said.
"This policy has never been changed even in the most difficult times," Wen said.
"The key to the issue now is the Japanese leader must go with the trend of the world, take history as a mirror, orient toward the future and take practical actions so as not to disturb and sabotage the Chinese-Japanese ties," Wen said.
(Xinhua News Agency December 13, 2005)