September 1, 2015 / 10:20 AM / 4 years ago

China says Japan complaints about U.N. Ban's WW2 parade visit 'irritating'

BEIJING (Reuters) - China on Tuesday rebuffed as “irritating” complaints from Japan about the Beijing visit of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to watch a military parade marking the end of World War Two.

A visitor walks on a glass flooring above Japanese military flags seized by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) during World War Two, at the Museum of the War of Chinese People's Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, in Beijing, China, September 1, 2015, two days ahead of the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Thousands of Chinese troops will march through central Beijing on Thursday to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the war’s end, overseen by Chinese President Xi Jinping and leaders such as Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Western leaders have mostly declined to attend, as has Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Japanese media reported that Japan’s Foreign Ministry expressed “strong displeasure” with Ban’s attendance.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying dismissed those remarks.

“At the moment the international community is commemorating the 70th anniversary of the World Anti-Fascist War, Japan’s so-called protest or remarks sound very irritating, which is deliberately provocative,” she told a daily news briefing.

“We hope Japan can truly face up to and deeply reflect on its history of militarism with an honest and modest attitude.”

Ban told Chinese state-run media last week that he was aware of Japan’s complaints but that it was important to recognize China’s sacrifices and contributions during the war.

Memories of the war still burn deeply in China, as well as in North and South Korea, due to what many people believe is Japan’s failure to atone properly for wartime atrocities. Millions of people died in China during the war.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye will also attend the Beijing parade, along with a senior North Korean official.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie

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