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Koizumi's Shrine Visit Seriously Affects China-Japan Ties
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Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's latest visit to the Yasukuni Shrine has seriously affected the improvement of China-Japan relations and hurt the international image and national interest of Japan.


State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan said in Beijing Sunday when meeting with Doi Takako, honorary leader of the Social Democratic Party of Japan.


Koizumi visited the Yasukuni Shrine on August 15, anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II.


Tang said the deadlock of Sino-Japanese political relations lies in that the Japanese leaders insist to visit the Shrine which honors Japanese "class A" war criminals.


Koizumi's visit severely harms the feeling of the people victimized by Japanese militarist aggression and damages the political basis of Sino-Japanese relations, he said.


Koizumi visited the shrine every year since he took office as prime minister in 2001.


Tang said the Chinese side will continue to work for breaking the deadlock of Sino-Japanese relations.


He said he hopes that the Japanese side can follow historical trends and the willing of the peoples of the two countries, remove political barriers and push Sino-Japanese relations, together with China, back onto a normal development track.


Tang said he highly appreciates Doi for her long-term work on improving Sino-Japanese friendship and hopes that she can make more efforts in this aspect.


Doi was former leader of the Social Democratic Party of Japan and also former speaker of the House of Representatives from 1993 to 1996. She visited China many times and Chinese former President Jiang Zemin and President Hu Jintao had met with her.


Doi said to abide by the three political documents between the two countries is the foundation of maintaining a healthy and stable bilateral relationship.


Correctly understanding history is important both to Japanese-Chinese relationship and Japan's development, she said.


Relations between the two countries have been chilled by Koizumi's visits.


Soon after Koizumi's sixth visit on August 15, Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a statement expressing "strong protests" against the move


Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing summoned Japanese Ambassador to China Miyamoto Yuji and lodged strong objections.


In Beijing more than 30 Chinese citizens gathered outside the Japanese embassy on the morning of August 15 to protest against Koizumi's visit.


The anger over Koizumi's shrine visit also spread in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province, where at least 300,000 Chinese were massacred by Japanese troops in 1937.


In Japan, Koizumi's shrine visit also prompted protests from opposition and coalition parties, politicians and civil groups, according to media reports.


(Xinhua News Agency August 21, 2006)

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