• Kyodo

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Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing on Saturday slammed Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s visits to Yasukuni Shrine as “unacceptable,” saying they “deeply hurt the feelings of Chinese and Asian people.”

At a wide-ranging news conference on the sidelines of the annual session of China’s national legislature, Li termed Koizumi’s visits to the Tokyo shrine an “extremely prominent” issue in Sino-Japanese relations.

He gave a positive assessment of relations between China and Japan. But on Koizumi, he said, “In relation to historical issues, why can’t he do what European leaders can do?”

The Shinto shrine is dedicated to 2.4 million Japanese military personnel and officials who have died since 1853 in Japan’s wars. Seven hanged class-A war criminals are among those enshrined there.

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