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FM Condemns War Shrine Visit

The Foreign Ministry issued a statement yesterday condemning Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, a place where 14 WWII class-A war criminals are honored, along with about two million other war dead.


Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing read the statement to Japan's ambassador to China, Koreshige Anami, saying that Koizumi had again visited the shrine despite strong opposition from China and other Asian countries and their peoples.


Such a move "hurt the feelings and dignity" of those countries and their peoples and "seriously undermined Sino-Japanese relations," it said, adding that the government and people expressed their strong indignation over the action.


It said that in recent years Chinese leaders have repeatedly made clear their hope that Koizumi would  take the overall situation into account and not insist on having his own way.


"This has revealed the political will and sincerity of the Chinese government and people who attach importance to Sino-Japanese relations," it said. "Prime Minister Koizumi must shoulder all responsibility for the severe political consequences resulting from his wrongdoing."


"The will of the people cannot be insulted," the statement quoted a Chinese saying, adding that "anybody that goes against the trend of the times will let down both ancestors and descendants, and will finally 'lift a rock only to drop it on his own toes,'” it said.


According to the statement, though the Japanese government and its leaders have expressed solemn commitments towards historical issues on many occasions, in recent years some leaders have time and again severely hurt the Chinese people's feelings and imposed obstacles to the normal development of relations.


This year marks the 60th anniversary of victory in the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and World War Two, but Japanese right-wing extremists go against the current of the world, publicly distorting and negating history, it said.


In the 21st century, the statement said, Japan must show an earnest, sincere and responsible attitude, implement the principles of "learning from history and facing up to the future" by taking convincing and concrete actions, co-exist peacefully with neighbors and take a peaceful development path on this basis if it really wants to gain trust from Asian neighbors and the international community and play a positive role in international affairs.


(Xinhua News Agency October 18, 2005)

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