BEIJING – China expressed its support Wednesday for U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s recent remarks urging those Japanese political leaders who apparently have revisionists views of the nation’s past history to have a more appropriate understanding.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei released a statement saying the country “actively supports” Ban’s remarks, noting it is “the common voice of the international community” to call on Japan to reflect on and face up to its past history of aggression.
Hong said Japan needs to win the trust of the international community by respecting the feelings of the many victims of its aggression in Asia and taking concrete actions.
Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister, told a press conference Monday in Seoul that Japan should engage in reflection “to look toward the international future in an effort to foster friendly ties with a correct view of past history.”
China’s reaction also came a day after Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said it is “extremely questionable” whether the U.N. chief was fully aware of “our country’s position” to make such comments. He didn’t elaborate.
Conflicting territorial claims and differing perceptions of history have frayed Japan’s relations with China and South Korea.
Most recently, visits by three members of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet to Yasukuni Shrine on Aug. 15 — the 68th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II — infuriated countries that were victims of its wartime aggression, especially China. Before South Korea was established, the Korean Peninsula was under what was considered harsh Japanese colonial rule from 1910-45.
The shrine in Tokyo honors Japan’s war dead as well as leaders convicted as Class-A war criminals by an Allied tribunal.
Because of the soured ties, there have been no talks between Abe and his counterparts from China and South Korea since he formed his government in December.
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