• Jiji

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China and South Korea on Friday blasted Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi’s visit to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo earlier in the day.

China expresses its strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition, National Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said in a statement.

The Shinto shrine, where World War II criminals are enshrined alongside millions of war dead, is “a spiritual tool and symbol of Japanese militarism and its invasion of foreign countries,” the statement said in English.

Kishi’s act reflects “Japan’s wrong attitude toward its history of aggression and its sinister intention to challenge the postwar international order,” the statement added.

China urged Japan to “seriously reflect on its history of aggression, keep in mind the historical lessons, correct its mistakes and gain the trust of its Asian neighbors and the international community through concrete actions.”

The statement also criticized Tokyo for smearing China’s defense policy and military development in collaboration with countries outside the region while conducting targeted military exercises, intervening in the Taiwan issue and carrying out provocative actions in the South China Sea.

In South Korea, Lee Sang-ryol, the Foreign Ministry’s director-general for Asian and Pacific affairs, summoned Naoki Kumagai, deputy chief of mission at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, to lodge a protest.

Lee told Kumagai that Yasukuni Shrine glorifies Japan’s past colonization and invasion of the Korean Peninsula.

Kishi’s visit damages the trust between the two countries, Lee said, urging Japanese leaders to reflect on past wrongdoings and demonstrate their sincerity by their action.

The South Korean National Defense Ministry also expressed its deep concerns and regrets over Kishi’s visit.

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