BEIJING – China rapped Japan on Monday for complaining about U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s attendance at a World War II victory parade last week in Beijing, at which the defeat of Japanese forces was celebrated with a display of tanks, jets and ballistic missiles.
Ban’s decision drew a rebuke from Tokyo, which urged him to adopt a “neutral” stance on history by skipping the event. It was shunned by many world leaders who felt the display of military might was inappropriate for a “peace” parade.
Speaking at a regular press briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei called Ban’s participation “fully justified,” adding that Japan’s defeat in the war was a major factor leading to the creation of the United Nations.
The Japanese should “stop being unreasonable or wasting their time and energy,” he said, suggesting that they should instead “read the U.N. Charter carefully, reflect upon the history of aggression, and make tangible moves to win the trust of Asian neighbors and the international community.”
“On issues bearing peace and justice of humankind, how can you ask the U.N. to stay neutral?” he asked.
Russia was the only member of the wartime Allies to send its leader, Vladimir Putin, to join the parade.
Among more than two dozen other world leaders also attending was Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for genocide and other crimes against humanity.
Speaking before the parade, Ban’s office said he “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.”