China and Japan should set aside hatred and not allow the minority who led Japan to war affect relations now, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Saturday as the country marked its first national memorial day for the Nanking Massacre.

Beijing and Tokyo have long sparred over their painful history. China consistently reminds its people of the 1937 massacre in which it says Imperial Japanese troops killed 300,000 people in what was then its capital.

A postwar Allied tribunal put the death toll at 142,000, but some conservative Japanese politicians and scholars deny a massacre took place at all.