China leaders refuse to meet Japan premier
December 31, 2013 - 6:51:32 am
BEIJING: China said yesterday that its leaders will not meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, underscoring the deteriorating ties between Asia’s two biggest economies.
Abe had repeated his hopes for talks with Beijing last week, when he visited the Yasukuni shrine where Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal after World War Two are honoured along with those who died in battle.
The visit infuriated China and South Korea, both of which were occupied by Japanese forces until the end of the war, and prompted concern from the United States about rising tensions between the North Asian neighbours.
Abe said then that relations with China and South Korea were important and he hoped for an opportunity to explain to these countries that strengthening ties would be in the national interest.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a daily news briefing that “Abe has himself shut the door on talks with Chinese leaders. Since assuming office, Abe has miscalculated on Sino-Japan ties, and made mistake after mistake, especially visiting the Yasukuni Shrine which houses ‘Class A’ war criminals. These people are fascists, the Nazis of Asia,” he said.
“Of course the Chinese people don’t welcome such a Japanese leader, and Chinese leaders will not meet him.” Qin called on Abe to “admit his mistakes to the Chinese government and people.”