China says Japan PM 'shuts door' on talks with war shrine visit

BEIJING Mon Dec 30, 2013 4:30am EST

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (2nd L) is led by a Shinto priest as he visits Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (2nd L) is led by a Shinto priest as he visits Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo December 26, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Toru Hanai

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BEIJING (Reuters) - China said on Monday that its leaders will not meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after his visit to a shrine seen by critics as a symbol of Tokyo's wartime aggression, underscoring the deteriorating ties between Asia's two biggest economies.

Abe had repeated his hopes for talks with Beijing last week, when he visited the Yasukuni shrine where Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal after World War Two are honored along with those who died in battle.

The visit infuriated China and South Korea, both of which were occupied by Japanese forces until the end of the war, and prompted concern from the United States about rising tensions between the North Asian neighbors.

Abe said then that relations with China and South Korea were important and he hoped "for an opportunity to explain to China and South Korea that strengthening ties would be in the national interest".

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a daily news briefing that "Abe has himself shut the door on talks with Chinese leaders".

"Since assuming office, Abe has miscalculated on Sino-Japan ties, and made mistake after mistake, especially visiting the Yasukuni Shrine which houses 'Class A' war criminals. These people are fascists, the Nazis of Asia," he said.

"Of course the Chinese people don't welcome such a Japanese leader, and Chinese leaders will not meet him."

Qin called on Abe to "admit his mistakes to the Chinese government and people".

South Korea said it would not now take part in talks on shared defense and intelligence agreements Seoul and Tokyo had been planning to hold next month.

"I hope there would be no acts next year which destroy trust between two countries or worsen the public sentiment by digging up the wounds of the past," President Park Geun-hye said in a meeting with aides, reported by the Yonhap news agency.


It was the first visit to Yasukuni by a serving Japanese prime minister since 2006.

Ties between Japan and China were already precarious due to a simmering row over ownership of a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. China has said it is willing to talk to Japan about the issue, but has accused Abe of not being serious about wanting to resolve the dispute.

Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's annual visits to Yasukuni during his 2001-2006 tenure were a major factor in a chill in ties between China and Japan. Abe, who succeeded Koizumi in 2006, repaired frayed ties with China then with a summit meeting, but has since said he regretted not visiting the shrine during his first 2006-2007 term.

Abe has called for dialogue with China since returning to power a year ago, but Beijing had shown no inclination to respond to those overtures even before the latest Yasukuni controversy.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Abe did meet briefly on two occasions this year - at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting on the Indonesian island of Bali in October and on the fringes of the G20 summit in St. Petersburg in September.

Beijing will host APEC next year.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing and James Pearson and Sohee Kim in Seoul; Writing by Sui-Lee Wee in Beijing; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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Comments (10)
CNSG wrote:
Abe’s excuses and explanation after the shrine visit are plain faked lies. His gesture to negotiate and talk with the Chinese/Korean leaders are fake even before China shut the door itself:
- He said we need to talk with the Chinese about the Diaoyu Island dispute, but without any condition; while his condition is that there is no dispute on this issue. How ridiculous is this.
- He said he visited the Yasukuni shrine to pray for peace. Peace my a**, Abe. Those were Class A war criminals for massacres. If there is anything that can stir up the tension and make every painful memory worse for people in this region, is to visit the shrine. Abe knew it, but he still visited it anyway.
Any country leaders with conscience and aware of the history in Eastern Asia should also shut the door to any kind of talk with this mad man, and stop his attempt to re-militarise Japan. Otherwise he will bring misfortune for everyone in the near future for sure.

Dec 30, 2013 5:02am EST  --  Report as abuse
Tiu wrote:
China is right to reject Fascism. It’s time to do the same in the west.

Dec 30, 2013 5:18am EST  --  Report as abuse
ajsfca wrote:
The Chinese communist party supported mass murderer Pol Pot as well as enshrining their own mass murderer, Mao Tse Tung. The CCP is barking at it’s own hypocritical shadow.

Dec 30, 2013 6:04am EST  --  Report as abuse
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