China's ambassador to US blasts Japan's Abe-Eastday

Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai had harsh words for
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose recent visit to the controversial
Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo sparked fresh outrage among neighboring countries.

Cui said he does not personally hold any hope for Abe, and the Japanese
leader should be held responsible for damaging relations between China and

Abe visited Yasukuni on Dec 26, the first anniversary of his second-term
premiership. The shrine honors Japan’s war dead, including 14 Class-A World War
II war criminals.

China's ambassador to US blasts Japan's Abe

Cui Tiankai, Chinese Ambassador to the United

“It is not a separate or random incident but has a deep background,” Cui told
journalists at the Chinese embassy in Washington DC on Friday afternoon.

Cui believes what Abe has done cannot be explained as a personal action but
rather as one of a prime minister and national leader.

“This is a political action with clear political purpose,” said Cui, who was
China’s vice-foreign minister before assuming his current post in April

Cui said Abe should have been fully aware of the negative impact of the
Yasukuni issue on Japan’s relations with its neighbors.

Abe became the first sitting Japanese prime minister in seven years to visit
Yasukuni. The previous visit was made by then prime minister Junichiro Koizumi,
when Abe served as chief cabinet secretary.

“Why did he choose to pay homage to the Yasukuni shrine after seven years?
This utterly reflects his view on history, his political stance and his policy
direction,” said Cui, who had served as China’s ambassador to Japan from 2007 to

“This issue, ultimately, is about whether the hard-won achievements of the
world’s antifascist war still count, and whether the post-war international
order should be protected and whether Japan under Abe can continue on a path of
peaceful development,” Cui said.

The war criminals honored at the Yasukuni include Iwane Matsui—a Japanese
Imperial Army general who ordered the massacre of 300,000 Chinese civilians and
unarmed soldiers in Nanjing from late 1937 to early 1938—and Hideki Tojo—the
then Japanese prime minister who was responsible for the attack on Pearl Harbor
in December 1941, which drew the US into WWII.

Cui said Abe’s homage to these war criminals shows he wants to follow in
their footsteps and reverse history’s verdict.

“Fundamentally, he wants to go back to the militarist path,” he said.

“So this is a matter of principle and absolutely not a personal or random

While China and South Korea have expressed outrage at Abe’s visit, the US
government has also expressed its disappointment. Some mainstream US and
European media published editorials denouncing Abe.

In an editorial on Dec 28, the Washington Post described Abe’s visit as a
“provocative act”.

Cui said: “The international community should have a clear view on this…and
we should not allow Abe to lead Japan in the wrong direction.”

Both Chinese and South Korean leaders have refused to meet Abe in recent
years. Throughout his career, the right-wing Japanese leader has pushed for the
revision of textbooks to whitewash Japan’s WWII history; denied that government
coercion was involved when “comfort women” from South Korea, China and the
Philippines were forced into prostitution by the Japanese empire; and questioned
whether Japan’s wartime actions should be defined as “aggression”.

In the past year, Abe has also advocated revisions to Japan’s pacifist
constitution—a message he reiterated in his New Year’s message last week.
Article 9 of the Japanese constitution forbids the use of war to settle
international disputes.

Cui believes most Japanese people, who are peace-loving and want to live in
peace with neighboring countries, will not support Abe’s actions.

A telephone survey by Kyodo News a week ago found 70 percent of respondents
want Abe to heed the diplomatic fallout following his shrine visit.

“If Abe’s policy leads Japan in a wrong direction and history repeats itself,
it will be the Japanese people who will become victims,” Cui said.

“So I think Japanese people can see through his deception.”

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China's ambassador to US blasts Japan's Abe-Eastday
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