China Thursday refuted Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's remarks that China's opposition to his visit to the Yasukuni Shrine is out of political reasons, saying his visits hurt the feelings of Chinese people.
"People in Asian countries oppose Japanese leaders' visits to the Yasukuni Shrine because it enshrines class-A war criminals whose hands were blotted with the blood of people who suffered Japanese invasion," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a briefing in Beijing Thursday.
In his interview with British newspaper The Times on Tuesday, Koizumi said China opposes his visits to the Yasukuni Shrine out of political reasons.
"I would assume that China doesn't welcome a growth in Japan's political influence. They are opposed, for example, to Japan becoming a permanent member of the UN Security Council because they want to check Japan's influence on the international stage," Koizumi told The Times in his official residence in Tokyo.
"What Japanese prime minister's homage to war criminals means to people in the victimized countries is obvious," said Qin.
Qin said the Yasukuni Shrine issue has become the crux to the current difficulties with relations between China and Japan.
Aside from the rifts over history, the two neighbours are also strained in the development of an oil field in the East China Sea. A new round of bilateral consultation on this issue is being held in Tokyo today.
China hopes the two sides properly resolve the issues concerned through negotiations," said Qin.
Source: China Daily