• Kyodo

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China’s Foreign Ministry, in a rebuke to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi over his remarks on a Shinto shrine that honors Japanese war criminals, reiterated Friday that “healthy and stable” bilateral ties depend on how Japanese leaders view the troubled history between the two nations.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Gong Quan made the statement a day after Koizumi told reporters that he intends to continue to pay homage to Japan’s war dead at Yasukuni Shrine and that he does not believe Yasukuni is the key issue between China and Japan.

“Without a correct view of history, there is no guarantee of healthy and stable ties between China and Japan,” Gong said.

The Chinese media have attacked Koizumi for visiting Yasukuni, which honors Japan’s war dead as well as World War II military leaders who were convicted by the Allies as war criminals.

Commenting on the Yasukuni issue, Gong said China’s position is “clear and consistent.”

Political ties between the two countries have been strained over the Yasukuni issue. Beijing has shown no interest in repeated suggestions from Tokyo that Koizumi might visit China and resume reciprocal visits by the two countries’ leaders.

Koizumi has met with new Chinese President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of international gatherings, but Beijing is apparently unwilling to play host to Koizumi until Tokyo changes its stance over Yasukuni.

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