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China daily urges retaliation over Abe shrine visit

27 December 2013 11:09

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A Chinese newspaper close to the ruling Communist Party says Beijing must take ‘excessive’ counter-measures in response to a visit by the Japanese prime minister to a controversial war shrine in Tokyo.

Shinzo Abe visited the Yasukuni war shrine on Thursday in a move that drew harsh criticism from China. The country summoned Tokyo’s ambassador after the visit to convey “the Chinese government’s solemn representations and strong protest.”

On Friday, Chinese daily the Global Times said in an editorial, “People are getting tired of such futile ‘strong condemnations’.”

“China needs to take appropriate, even slightly excessive countermeasures” or else “be seen as a ‘paper tiger’,” the newspaper added.

The Global Times suggested preventing high-profile Japanese politicians and other officials who visited the shrine from entering China for five years.

Abe’s Thursday visit to the war shrine, which was the first by an incumbent prime minister since 2006, further heightened tensions between Tokyo and Beijing that have been at loggerheads since 2012 over a territorial dispute.

In Japan, the Yasukuni shrine is a revered site dedicated to around 2.5 million people, who lost their lives from the Boshin War of 1867 through the end of World War II.

High-ranking officials executed after World War II for committing war crimes are also buried at the shrine.

Beijing also holds Tokyo accountable for claiming millions of Chinese lives during the Japanese invasion of China in the 1930s.

Abe defended his visit to the shrine by saying that it was a pledge that Japan would not go to war again.

A dispute over a chain of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan has strained diplomatic relations between the two countries since last year.

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