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Japan's PM seeks 'frank' summit with China and S. Korea

Abe hopes to ease tensions after his visit to war shrine

<p>Picture: South China Morning Post</p>

Picture: South China Morning Post

  • Teddy Ng for South China Morning Post
  • Japan
  • January 20, 2014
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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called for "frank" summit talks with China and South Korea after his visit last month to a shrine that honours war criminals was heavily criticised by both neighbours.

China and South Korea have accused Abe of showing a lack of remorse for Japan's second world war atrocities and the three nations are also embroiled in maritime territorial disputes.

"We should hold a summit meeting and have a frank discussion," Abe told Japanese broadcaster NHK yesterday.

Foreign minister Fumio Kishida said on Friday that the leaders should try to resolve their disputes and urged Beijing to agree to a summit between Abe and President Xi Jinping .

China and South Korea see the Yasukuni shrine, which honours 14 major second world war criminals, as a symbol of Japan's wartime aggression in Asia. The US and the EU also criticised Abe's visit.

Abe said a summit was all the more necessary because of the maritime territorial disputes, but added Tokyo would not make any concessions as a precursor to talks.

The shrine visit has prompted an international propaganda war between Beijing and Tokyo, with Chinese ambassadors overseas denouncing Tokyo as returning to militarism, while Tokyo paints China as a threat to regional security. The Foreign Ministry in Beijing has called Abe an "unwelcome" person, indicating a Xi-Abe summit is unlikely.

Zhou Yongsheng , a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, said Beijing was unlikely to respond to Abe's call for talks.

"Abe said he wants a dialogue because the international community is critical of the shrine visit," he said. "By calling for a dialogue, Abe is sending a signal that he has expressed his sincerity, but China and South Korea have rejected him."

Da Zhigang , an expert in Japanese affairs at the Heilongjiang Academy of Social Sciences, said Abe faces pressure from the international community, particularly from the US, to improve ties with its neighbours.

Full Story: Shinzo Abe seeks 'frank discussion' with China and South Korea

Source: South China Morning Post

 

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