BEIJING/SEOUL – China said Friday it “resolutely opposed” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s monetary donation to war-related Yasukuni Shrine on Friday, the 69th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II.
“We again urge the Japanese side to seriously take a responsible attitude” and “take practical action to gain the trust of its Asian neighbors and the international community,” said Hua Chunying, the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman.
When Cabinet ministers visited the war shrine last year, the Foreign Ministry in Beijing summoned Ambassador Masato Kitera to lodge a protest. Japanese Embassy officials in Beijing said it only received a protest during a telephone call.
Meanwhile, in Seoul, South Korean President Park Geun-hye urged Japan to work with her country to make next year, which will mark the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties, a “new starting point for a new era” for the two countries.
“Based on friendship, I hope both countries make next year a new starting point for a new era,” Park said in a speech marking the anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japan’s colonial rule on Aug. 15, 1945. She urged Japanese politicians “to show wisdom and determination” toward that end.
Park lamented that some Japanese politicians have carried out acts seen as glossing over Japan’s wartime wrongdoings, saying they are “dividing the minds of peoples in both countries and hurting their feelings.”
The South Korean Foreign Ministry was quick to criticize Abe’s latest ritual offering to Yasukuni Shrine and the visits there by three of his Cabinet ministers as “deplorable.”
Relations between South Korea and Japan have nose-dived to their lowest point in years over a territorial dispute and different interpretations of history.
The strained ties have prevented Abe and Park from holding their first summit since she took office in February last year.