China Summons Japanese Ambassador over War Shrine Visit
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - China summoned Japan's ambassador in Beijing to protest against Friday's visit to a controversial war shrine by more than 150 Japanese politicians, including a cabinet minister.
Hua Chunying, a Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman, told reporters in Beijing the ministry had issued a "solemn protest" and "strong condemnation" of the pilgrimage to Yasukuni shrine, which honors 2.5 million Japanese war dead, including several class-A war criminals.
The visit, made during the shrine's autumn festival, was "a blatant attempt to whitewash Japanese militarism's history of aggression and to challenge the outcomes of the second world war and the postwar international order", Hua said. "China is resolutely opposed to that."
According to The Guardian, Friday's visit comes days after the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, indicated he would not visit the site this year in an apparent attempt to ease tensions with China and South Korea. He instead sent a ritual offering of a sacred tree branch earlier this week.
Japan's internal affairs minister, Yoshitaka Shindo, said he had visited Yasukuni on Friday in a private capacity to remember his grandfather, who died in the battle for Iwo Jima.
"I visited in a private capacity to pay homage to those who died in the war and to pray for peace," Shindo said. "I don't think it will develop into a diplomatic issue."