TOKYO, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Undersecretary of State William Burns on Friday called on Japan to mend relations with neighboring countries, especially China and South Korea, reported local media.
Burns, who has already visited China and South Korea on a three- nation Asian trip, met with Japanese Defense Minister Isunori Onodera, Foreign Minister Funio Kishida and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga and called for reducing risk of contingency over the disputed islands between Japan and China.
The visit came after a controversial worship to the notorious Yasukuni Shrine on December 26, 2013 by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which infuriated China and South Korea, with the United States saying it was "disappointed."
Japan's relations with China and South Korea are also strained due to territorial disputes.
Meanwhile, the United States is urging Abe not to repeat his provocative visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors 14 class-A war criminals in the World War II.
U.S. officials are "looking for assurances from Mr. Abe that he would refrain from further comments and actions that ruffled Japan 's neighbors, who are already suspicious of his policy agenda," the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday in its online edition.
It quoted the officials as saying that they are also "urging Japan to reach out to South Korea to end their bickering, which is complicating efforts for the key U.S. allies to work together on broader regional challenges."
It said that Abe's shrine visit surprised and dismayed many in Washington and sparked outrage in Seoul and Beijing, adding the U. S. officials have asked Japan to take steps to address decades-old disagreements over forced prostitution at Japanese military brothels in World War II.
However, in the working policy of Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party released on Jan. 19, the party said it will continue to visit the Yasukuni Shrine.
Analysts pointed out that compared with previous working policies, the new version's expression on constitution revision and education policy highlighted Abe's strong conservativeness.
China urges Abe to step back from brink
BEIJING, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- China on Friday responded to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's new year message calling for cooperation in addressing bilateral problems by urging him to retreat from the wrong path and to never visit the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine again.
The Japanese government released Abe's message for the Chinese Lunar New Year on Thursday, in which he proposed the two countries return to the basic focus of establishing mutually beneficial strategic relations, overcoming obstacles and moving forward together. Full story
Abe's speech at Davos draws criticism
BEIJING, Jan. 24 (Xinhuanet) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is under fire again after comparing his country’s tense relations with China, with those of Germany and Britain before World War One. Abe’s historical reference has drawn criticism from both China and South Korea.
Speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said China and Japan were in a "similar situation" to Britain and Germany before 1914, but conflict erupted between the two countries despite strong economic ties. He said both China and Japan should take lessons from that. Full story
Abe still self-contradictory
BEIJING, Jan. 24 (Xinhuanet) -- One moment, he sounded perfectly sane, alerting the world to the dangerous tensions that could potentially tear East Asia apart.
The next, he appeared the very opposite, convincing a global audience there is no way to undo the knot he has tied. Or at least he is not in the mood to undo it. Full story
China dismisses Abe's call for talks
BEIJING, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- China on Thursday dismissed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's call for talks with Chinese leaders, arguing that it is insincere.
"We have repeatedly stated our position on this. The Japanese leader should not dream of having empty talks while refusing to acknowledge his mistakes and continuing to make negative remarks on China," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a regular press briefing. Full story