China slams Abe's shrine visit at U.N., questions "dangerous" path

January 9, 2014 10:38 am 

By Seana K. Magee

NEW YORK, Jan. 8 (PNA/Kyodo) — China's top envoy to the United Nations on Wednesday criticized Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's recent visit to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine, questioning the conservative leader's motives and warned the international community to "remain vigilant."

"To pay homage to such a place, where the war criminals are enshrined is a fundamental question bearing on the charter of the United Nations," Ambassador Liu Jieyu told reporters, noting that 14 class-A war criminals were enshrined there.

"It all boils down to whether a leader of a country should stand on the side of maintaining the principles and the purposes of the charter of the United Nations or to side with war criminals."

The Shinto shrine in the nation's capital honors around 2.5 million war dead, along with war criminals, including former Prime Minister, General Hideki Tojo.

Abe's Dec. 26 visit has prompted a backlash from Asian countries that came under Japan's wartime aggression. In a rare move, the United States has also urged Tokyo to improve relations with its neighbors, saying it was "disappointed" by the Japanese leadership's action that will exacerbate regional tensions.

Liu explained how the shrine "whitewashes and glorifies aggression and trumpets a militaristic outlook of history" and accused Abe of standing on the "wrong side of history."

"The question inevitably arises as to what Abe is up to, where does he intend to take his country?" the Chinese envoy added.

"The international community should remain vigilant and issue a warning, a warning to the effect that Abe must correct his erroneous outlook of history," he noted, warning that his actions might take the country down a "very dangerous path."

The fiery words come amid heightened tensions between the two nations over a disputed island chain in the East China Sea.

Ambassador Liu briefed reporters on China's position following a Security Council meeting on Syria. Responding to a question posed by a reporter, he weighed in on Abe's visit for about five minutes but did not take any further questions.(PNA/Kyodo)

LAM/PJN

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