WASHINGTON, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Saturday urged Japan to improve relations with its neighboring countries after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to a controversial war shrine in late December fueled tensions with China and South Korea.
"Secretary Hagel underscored the importance of Japan taking steps to improve relations with its neighbors," U.S. Defense Department said in a statement summarizing the telephone talks between Hagel and his Japanese counterpart Itsunori Onodera.
Hagel also called on Japan to promote cooperation in advancing the goal of regional peace and stability, according to the statement.
Abe's visit to the Yasukuni shrine, which honors Japan's war dead including 14 convicted Class-A war criminals from WWII, has drawn worldwide condemnation and criticism with officials and media warning of its adverse impact on regional peace and stability in East Asia.
"We were disappointed that Japan's leadership has taken an action that will exacerbate tensions with Japan's neighbors," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said at a press briefing on Monday.
SEOUL, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's top diplomat repeated his condemnation of Japanese politicians for their visit to the controversial war shrine, describing the visit as a big stumbling block to peace and cooperation in the region.
"As seen in the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's recent visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, the history-revisionist attitude of Japan's political leadership brought isolation upon itself and served as a big stumbling block to peace and cooperation in Northeast Asia," Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said in his New Year's message on Thursday. Full story
BEIJING, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to the notorious Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo that honors Japan's war dead including convicted war criminals in World War II is but a flagrant denial of the just trials of Japanese warmongers guilty of crimes against humanity.
Abe on Thursday visited the war shrine, which has been seen as a symbol of Japan's past militarism as it enshrines 14 Class-A WWII war criminals. Full story
BEIJING, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi on Saturday declared that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to the Yasukuni shrine was a mistake that must be corrected.
"The Chinese people cannot be insulted, nor can people of Asia and the world be humiliated. Abe must own up to the wrongdoing, correct the mistake and take concrete measures to remove its egregious effects," said Yang in the statement. Full story