In an interview to Al Jazeera in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi commented Abe's visit to Yasukuni Shrine. Excerpts follow:
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (FILE)
Japanese Prime Minister Abe paid homage to the Yasukuni Shrine in total disregard of opposition of people of various countries. It is a symbol of the militaristic aggression.
Until this day, all the exhibits in the Shrine are designed to justify Japan's decision to launch that war of aggression at the time, and the 14 Class-A war criminals tried at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East are still honored in the Shrine. This is the place that Prime Minister Abe bent on visiting. Worse even, he regarded the war criminals as "the souls of the war dead". He has crossed the bottom line of human conscience and what he has done is way beyond Japan's domestic affairs. In essence, it is an attempt to whitewash Japan's war of aggression, challenge the just trial of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, and challenge the resultant post-war order. We are concerned that this will lead Japan to danger.
Lessons of the history have to be learned. This is an issue to which the whole international community should pay much attention. Nobody should be allowed to turn back the wheels of the history or backtrack. Back then, Japanese militarists committed atrocities in Asia, just as German fascists did in Europe.
In China alone, the Japanese war of aggression inflicted casualties of as many as 35 million, not to mention countless property losses. The Chinese nation is tolerant and generous. We have given up war reparations, and furthermore we have told our people that the Japanese people are also victims of militarism and that only the militarists should be held responsible for the war. In other words, Class-A war criminals honored at the Yasukuni Shrine should take the responsibility for the war of aggression. Now, the Japanese leaders went so far as to pay homage to these Class-A war criminals. This is unacceptable, not only to the Chinese people, but to the whole international community. It would be unimaginable if this took place in Europe.
The only way to open up the future is to expose and condemn the past; and the only way for Japan to win back the trust of its neighbors is to commit itself to peace. We hope that the Japanese leaders should understand this most basic principle and respect the red line of human conscience and international justice.