Wen urges end to war shrine visits

Chinese premier quoted saying he hopes Japanese leaders will never visit shrine.

    The Yasakuni war shrine honours Japan's war dead, including several war criminals [GALLO/GETTY]

    Wen's comments come ahead of a three-day visit to Tokyo next week, the first by a Chinese premier in eight years.
     
    Relations between Tokyo and Beijing ties soured under Abe's predecessor, Junichiro Koizumi, who repeatedly visited the shrine despite China's protests.
     
    Relations have improved since Abe took office last September. He has not visited the shrine since become prime minister.
     
    Wen has described the upcoming trip as "an ice-thawing journey" and emphasised the importance China placed on ties with Japan.
     
    He expressed hoped that Abe will visit China later this year, Kyodo said.
     
    Return trip
     

    Wen sees his Tokyo trip as "an
    ice-thawing journey" [GALLO/GETTY]

    Yasuhisa Shiozaki, Japan's chief cabinet secretary, said the possibility of Abe's visit will be discussed during Wen's trip to Tokyo.
     
    "Of course we will consider this in a positive light," Shiozaki said.
     
    Both leaders are also expected to conduct negotiations over competing claims to gas reserves in the East China Sea during Wen's trip.
     
    Shiozaki said he hoped progress would be made after another round of talks on the matter last week ended without any agreement.
     
    Both nations have been holding talks to resolve the dispute which began in 2004 as they attempt to develop new sources of energy.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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