China has said that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is no longer welcome in China after he visited the controversial Yasukuni war shrine.
I hope that there won't be any act of breaking down country-to-country relations by digging up the wounds of the past.
“The Chinese people do not welcome him. Now, Abe needs to admit his mistakes to the government and people of China, cut loose from the past and make a new start,” said Qin Gang, China’s foreign ministry spokesman.
Abe visited the Tokyo shrine last week and sparked anger from China and both Koreas.
Yasukuni enshrines 2.5m people killed in war, including 14 class A war criminals from World War II.
Japan colonised Korea and often brutally occupied parts of China before and during WWII.
Abe’s visit to the Shinto-style war shrine was the first by a sitting Japanese prime minister in seven years.
Junichiro Koizumi visited the site in 2006 to mark the anniversary of the end of WWII.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Monday urged Japan not to impair bilateral ties by opening up past colonial wounds.
“I hope that there won’t be any act of breaking down country-to-country relations by digging up the wounds of the past,” Park said during a regular meeting with her aides, according to South Korean media reports posted on her office’s website.
North Korea’s state media said that Abe’s shrine visit was equal to a “declaration of war” against people in Asia and the rest of the world.
“Japan has now turned into a war state deviating to the right and fascism,” the official Korean Central News Agency said in a statement.
Abe has previously said that criticism that his visits to Yasukuni are an act of worshipping war criminals is based on a misunderstanding.
He said he did not intend to hurt the Chinese and Korean people’s feelings and expressed conviction that Japan must never wage war again, according to AP news agency.