• Kyodo


Beijing said Friday that Japan must “create the necessary environment and conditions” before Chinese President Jiang Zemin will agree to meet with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi during October’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Shanghai.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi said in a statement that China “consistently places importance” on meetings with Japan’s leaders. But he hinted that the domestic backlash against Koizumi’s visit Monday to Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, where convicted Class A war criminals are enshrined, would make a Sino-Japanese summit difficult in the near future.

On Monday, the Foreign Ministry aired China’s “fierce anger and dissatisfaction” with Koizumi’s having paid homage at the Shinto shrine, saying, “The Japanese leader’s flawed gesture has damaged the political foundation of Sino-Japanese relations.”

Chinese university students protested in front of the Japanese Embassy in Beijing following the visit, while a diplomatic residential compound was spray-painted with graffiti reading “down with Japanese militarism!”

China and South Korea view the shrine as a symbol of Japanese militarism. The shrine honors about 2.5 million mostly Japanese who have died in wars since the mid-19th century, including seven convicted Class A war criminals sentenced to death and hanged.

The protests came even though Koizumi changed the date of the visit from Wednesday, the 56th anniversary of Japan’s World War II surrender, as originally planned, to Monday in consideration of Japan’s relations with neighboring countries that suffered from its wartime aggression.

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