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Shrine Visit Seriously Undermines Sino-Japanese Ties: FM

The Foreign Ministry said yesterday that the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to the Yasukuni Shrine despite strong opposition from China and other Asian countries had seriously undermined Sino-Japanese relations.


Ministry spokesperson Kong Quan told a regular press conference that the government and people expressed strong indignation over Koizumi's act, which wantonly hurt the feelings and dignity of countries and peoples who had been victimized during WWII.


Indignation and opposition had been echoed by the international community, Kong said, adding that "We noticed that many Japanese people also hold misgivings about Koizumi's shrine visit."


President Hu Jintao set forth proposals on developing Sino-Japanese relationship in Jakarta in April during his meeting with Koizumi, to which Koizumi expressed his agreement, said Kong.


He said the Japanese government and its leaders have expressed their solemn promise and commitments toward the history issue on many occasions.


"However, facts prove that Koizumi went back on his words," Kong said.


Koizumi visited the shrine on Monday for the fifth time since taking office in 2001, which honors 14 class-A war criminals from WWII among about 2 million other Japanese war dead.


Kong said the move could not help attain the aim of what he called "reflection of history," but would fuel the tendency to distort and negate history by Japanese rightwing extremists.


"Koizumi's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine has resulted in very grave consequences, for which he should bear full responsibility," said Kong.


The government is strongly opposed to Koizumi's shrine visits at any time and in any form, he said.


“The Japanese must take action to meet their promise to treat history properly, and never do anything more to hurt the feelings of the victimized countries," said Kong. "This is the premise and basis of improving and developing Sino-Japanese relations."


In the 21st century, 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, coexist 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, Kong said.


China and Japan are neighbors and they should coexist in peace and friendship and seek common development, which constitutes an important revelation shown by the positive and negative aspects of the history of bilateral relations and is where the common aspiration and the greatest common interests of the two peoples rest, he said.


Kong also gave his view on Rumsfeld's China visit, hoping it could help the two sides have an all-round and objective understanding of each other.


"The two sides should transform their words into real action, and make the development of Sino-US military ties consistent with that of overall bilateral relations," he said.


"It is legitimate that China strengthen national defense, and it should arouse no doubt or worry," he said.


Kong said Chinese leaders have urged the US side to handle properly and cautiously the Taiwan issue, which concerns China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.


China firmly opposes the US visit by Li Teng-hui, a "Taiwan independence" advocator who attempts to harm relations across the Taiwan Straits, China-US relations and peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, said Kong.


"We have lodged solemn representations to the US side and hope it will keep its word to adhere to the one-China policy, abide by the three China-US joint communiqués and oppose 'Taiwan independence', and correct its wrongdoing and stop giving any misleading signals to the separatist forces of 'Taiwan independence'," Kong said.


He said China and Russia held their second round of strategic security talks in Beijing on Thursday morning, chaired by State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan and Russian Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov.


Kong said the talks would be conducive to expansion of mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries in all fields.


Their consultations focused on bilateral relations as well as such major international issues as anti-terrorism, non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, the construction of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), said Kong.


Under the circumstances of developing a Sino-Russian strategic cooperative partnership, both countries stressed the necessity to increase channels of communication, consultation and dialogue, Kong said.


Kong described the security talks as "in-depth and active," saying China and Russia could enhance mutual understanding and trust through them.


The talks would exert a profound influence on the mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields, Kong said.


In addition, Kong announced that, at the invitation of Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov, Premier Wen Jiabao will attend the 4th meeting of prime ministers of SCO member states in Moscow from October 26 to 27.


Turning to the trial of Saddam Hussein, Kong said China was paying close attention to it, saying that his destiny should be decided totally by the Iraqi people.


China hopes that the situation in Iraq will stabilize as soon as possible and that the Iraqi people will soon rebuild their homeland, Kong said.


The trial of Hussein and his aides started in Baghdad on Wednesday, and was adjourned until November 28 after Adnan al-Dulaimi, his lawyer, requested a three-month postponement.


Kong also said Foreign Minister of Serbia and Montenegro Vuk Draskovic will visit from October 22 to 27.


(Xinhua News Agency October 21, 2005)

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Chinese Foreign Ministry
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