BEIJING – China blasted Japanese objections over U.N. Secretary-General official Ban Ki-moon’s decision to attend a controversial World War II victory ceremony in Beijing on Thursday.
“These types of views grate on the ears. They are just willfully provocative,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Tuesday during a regular press briefing.
The purpose of the ceremony, she said, “is to remember history, commemorate the martyrs, cherish peace and look to the future.”
Following the announcement last week that Ban will visit Beijing at the invitation of President Xi Jinping, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official expressed “strong displeasure” with the U.N. chief’s attendance.
China extended invitations to many world leaders in the months leading up to the Sept. 3 commemoration of what China calls the victory of its war of resistance against Japanese aggression and the world’s anti-fascist war. The event will feature a rare military parade through Tiananmen Square, where Ban is also expected to be present.
Ultimately, Russia was the only one of the war’s major powers to send a top leader, President Vladimir Putin. Around 30 other foreign leaders, including South Korean President Park Geun-hye, also plan to attend.
Other Allied powers, as well as Germany and Japan, demurred, ostensibly concerned about the event’s martial overtones and potential denigration of Japan.
Ban’s office said that “the secretary-general believes that it is important to reflect on the past, look at the lessons we have learned and how we can move ahead to a brighter future based on these lessons.”
Ban’s office also participated in ceremonies marking the end of war in Poland, Ukraine and Russia, according to his staff.