Wen Urges Japan’s Leader to Avoid Shrine
Wednesday April 4, 2007 9:16 PM
AP Photo TOK805
By CARL FREIRE
Associated Press Writer
TOKYO (AP) – China’s premier urged his Japanese counterpart not to visit a Tokyo war shrine at the center of tensions over Japan’s past military aggression in Asia, a news report said Wednesday.
Speaking to Japanese media in Beijing ahead of a three-day visit to Japan next week, Wen Jiabao said that “individual Japanese leaders have visited (the shrine) numerous times and hurt the feelings of the Chinese people,” Kyodo News agency reported.
“I hope this will never happen again,” the agency quoted Wen as saying.
Yasukuni Shrine, which honors the country’s 2.5 million war dead, is a diplomatic flash point between Japan and its neighbors China and South Korea, who see the shrine as a symbol of Japan’s militaristic past.
Tokyo-Beijing ties soured under Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s predecessor, Junichiro Koizumi, who repeatedly visited the shrine despite China’s protests. Relations have improved since Abe took office last September, and he has not since visited the shrine.
Abe has refused to make clear whether he plans to visit the shrine and has said he will not confirm afterward whether he’s gone. On Wednesday, he repeated that policy of ambiguity.
“My position on the Yasukuni issue is as stated before,” Abe said.
Wen, who last month described his coming trip as “an ice-thawing journey,” said that China places great importance on its ties with Japan, and that he hopes Abe will visit China by the year’s end, Kyodo reported.
Abe visited Beijing shortly after he took office in September, and said last week he is considering returning to China.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki said the possibility of the visit would be discussed when Wen comes to Japan.
He is traveling there Wednesday, and is slated to hold a summit meeting with Abe and make a speech in Parliament. His visit marks the first such trip by a Chinese premier in eight years, according to China’s Foreign Ministry.
It seems that the CCP government is so eager to restore bilateral ties to the point where it is giving the Japanese Prime Minister fair warning to not do anything stupid before such a high level visit. After all, China needs direct Japanese investment to help fuel their economic growth by creating jobs, infrastructure and partnerships for this local business to flourish while at the same time providing Japan with a significant market that is currently contributing to Japan’s rise out of their decade-long recession. As my friend noted, Japan and China are interdependent for better or worse it is like a very bad gay marriage done out of convenience. Both partners in the arrangement have strong, independent personalities with different approaches to a common problem.
Fortunately, Abe is smart enough to officially please his party and the Chinese government by not giving a direct answer to the Yasukuni visits just like he did in regards to the Comfort Women controversy. It gives me the impression that the Chinese leadership believe Shinzo-kun is a feasible partner they can work with, but needs to be given friendly reminders to keep him from doing anything stupid similar to how the Americans and opposition give George Bush helpful reminders of the extent he is fucking up their country. At the same time, Shinzo-kun really should not do anything remotely stupid since the Chinese have done all they can to downplay the controversy stemming from his views on Comfort Women among their countrymen and within their party. In the end, money talks but stupidity can create tremendous problems.