China backs U.N. chief Ban's remarks on Japan's views of history

China on Wednesday expressed its support for U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon's recent remarks urging Japanese political leaders to have appropriate understanding of its past history.

China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei released a statement saying that the country "actively supports" the remarks and it is "the common voice of the international community" to call on Japan to reflect on and face up to its past history of aggression.

Hong said Japan needs to win the trust of the international community by respecting the feelings of the many victims of its aggression in Asia and taking concrete actions.

Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister, told a press conference on Monday in Seoul that Japan should engage in reflection "to look toward the international future in an effort to foster friendly ties with a correct view of past history."

China's reaction also came a day after Japan's top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said it is "extremely questionable" whether the U.N. chief was fully aware of "our country's position" to make such comments.

Conflicting territorial claims and differing perceptions of history have frayed Japan's relations with China and South Korea.

Most recently, visits by three members of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet to Yasukuni Shrine on Aug. 15 -- the 68th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II -- infuriated countries that were victims of its wartime aggression, especially China and South Korea.

The shrine in Tokyo honors Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal along with millions of war dead.

Because of the soured ties, there have been no talks between Abe and his counterparts from China and South Korea since he formed his government in December.