Sun, Sep 04, 2005 - Page 5 News List

China's envoy to Japan takes aim at war past

AFP , TOKYO

China's ambassador to Tokyo on Friday accused some Japanese of threatening world peace by glossing over their militarist past, as Beijing celebrates Japan's surrender in World War II 60 years ago.

"There are some people [in Japan] who still glorify the aggression," Ambassador Wang Yi told a ceremony at the Chinese embassy.

"This is a potential destabilizing factor posing a challenge to the peace of mankind," Wang said.

Amid tension with Japan, China is holding lavish celebrations this weekend marking the anniversary, including a rally by 10,000 people in Tiananmen Square.

They will remember the formal surrender of Japan aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, which brought an end to World War II on Sept. 2, 1945.

Militarism

"Japan's militarism caused tremendous damage to the people of Japan as well," Wang, who is a former vice foreign minister, told about 300 guests, including senior diplomats from different countries.

"The victors over fascism include the people of Japan," Wang said.

Tokyo's relations with neighbors have plunged to their lowest levels in decades as Japan has stood accused of white-washing its militaristic past.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's repeated visits to Tokyo's Yasukuni shrine, which honors the Japanese war dead, including condemned war leaders, have added fuel to the tensions.

China's ceremonies

When asked about the planned anniversary ceremonies in Beijing, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda, who is the Japanese government's spokesman, said: "I have no particular thought about it."

Hosoda said he was "not aware" of any invitations extended to Japanese leaders to attend the Chinese ceremonies.

"As the situation as it is, it is not possible for us to comply with them," he said, referring to campaigning for a snap general election on Sept. 11.

Tabloid media reported on Friday that Koizumi is considering making a "surprise" trip to Beijing to attend the war ceremonies, as a boost to his leadership image ahead of the election.

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