China takes propaganda war with Japan to United Nations

UNITED NATIONS Wed Jan 8, 2014 8:15pm EST

China's Ambassador to the United Nations Liu Jieyi arrives for a meeting of the five permanent members of U.N. Security Council in New York, August 30, 2013. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

China's Ambassador to the United Nations Liu Jieyi arrives for a meeting of the five permanent members of U.N. Security Council in New York, August 30, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Carlo Allegri

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - China took its propaganda war with Japan to the United Nations on Wednesday, questioning Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's motives for visiting a controversial war shrine and calling on him to correct his "erroneous outlook" on history.

Abe's December 26 visit to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine, where Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals are enshrined along with other war dead, infuriated China and South Korea and prompted concern from the United States, a key ally.

"It all boils down to whether the leader of a country should stand on the side of maintaining the principles and purposes of the charter of the United Nations or to side with war criminals," China's U.N. envoy Liu Jieyi told reporters.

Both China and Korea suffered under brutal Japanese rule, with parts of China occupied in the 1930s and Korea colonized from 1910 to 1945.

"The question inevitably arises as to what Abe is up to, where does he intend to take his country?" Liu said.

"The international community should remain vigilant and issue a warning ... that Abe must correct his erroneous outlook of history, he must correct his mistakes and he must not slip further down the wrong path," he said.

Japan's U.N. Ambassador Motohide Yoshikawa said in a statement later on Wednesday that Abe's visit to the shrine was not to pay homage to war criminals or praise militarism.

"Prime Minister Abe visited Yasukuni Shrine to pay his respects and pray for the souls of the war dead and renew the pledge that Japan shall never again wage war. It was nothing more and nothing less," Yoshikawa said.

Ties between Japan and China were already strained 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.

In the spat over Abe's shrine visit, the Chinese and Japanese envoys to London both wrote columns in Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper in the past week likening each other to Lord Voldemort, the villain in the Harry Potter stories.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Lisa Shumaker)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (16)
Sonnyjc9 wrote:
What if the Germans demanded that the President of the USA did not visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier because he served in a war against them. I think the Japanese have a right to mourn their war dead as do the Germans and the Russians and any other nation no matter how their men died.

Jan 08, 2014 8:38pm EST  --  Report as abuse
herestp wrote:
The Yasukuni Shrine visit is one thing. China should ask Abe why he deny the scale of Nanjing Massacre, Comfort Women? Ask him why he cannot make an official apology together with the Diet to China and S Korea?
A mature nation like the US show honesty by making an official apology for Japanese internment during WWII.
If Japan show that kind of maturity, then the Shrine visit may be less of an irritant. The point is Japan never never never show honest true apology on an official basis. Perhaps China should ask Japan why in the UN to put her on the spot.

“In 1988, Congress passed and President Ronald Reagan signed legislation that apologized for the internment on behalf of the U.S. government. The legislation said that government actions were based on “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership”.[12] The U.S. government eventually disbursed more than $1.6 billion in reparations to Japanese Americans who had been interned and their heirs”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_American_internment

Jan 08, 2014 9:20pm EST  --  Report as abuse
beerpatzer wrote:
Sonnyjc9: If Obama visited a German war cemetery where SS-men are buried, Jews also would be whining…. Some people, eh?

Jan 09, 2014 1:15am EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.