Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Tuesday, January 14, 2003

China Indignant over PM Koizumi's Shrine Visit

The Chinese government and people express their strong dissatisfaction and indignation over Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's latest visit to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine Tuesday.


The Chinese government and people express their strong disapproval and indignation over Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's latest visit to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine Tuesday morning.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue made the remarks in response to a reporter's question relating to the matter at the regular press conference on Tuesday afternoon.

The "wrongdoing seriously damaged the political foundation of the Sino-Japanese relations and also hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and the people of other Asian countries" that had been victimized during the World War II (WWII), Zhang said.

Such an act of Prime Minister Koizumi's has, she noted, run counter to a series of solemn declarations and commitments made bythe Japanese government on the related issues of history.

After voicing its firm opposition to the Yasukuni shrine visit by the Japanese leader, Zhang said, the Chinese side will soon lodge serious representation with the Japanese side through diplomatic channel, she added.

China urged the Japanese leaders to take an earnest and correct approach toward history, correct the wrongdoing with concrete actions and eliminate the pernicious influence, the spokeswoman said.

The Yasukuni Shrine, a symbol of the Japanese militarism, honors about 2.5 million Japanese war dead, including executed criminals such as war-era Prime Minister Hideki Tojo and other Class-A war criminals of the WWII.

This was Prime Minister Koizumi's third visit to Yasukuni since he assumed office in April 2001. He had visited the shrine on Aug.13 in 2001 and again on April 21, 2002, thus trigging uproar of protest from governments and people of Asian countries.

During the visit, Koizumi said that he wanted to do so with a "fresh feeling" of wishing for peace, Japan's Kyodo News reported.

"It is the new year, and so with a fresh feeling, I want to relish peace and offer my prayers with the thought that we will never launch another war," Koizumi was quoted by Kyodo before making the visit.

His previous visits in the past two years drew protests from neighboring countries such as China and South Korea -- victims of Japan's military aggression before and during World War II.

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Koizumi Makes His Third Visit to Yasukuni Shrine Today


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