China slams Abe's ritual offering to controversial war shrine

BEIJING, Oct. 17 (Yonhap) -- China condemned a ritual offering made by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday at a controversial war shrine, urging Tokyo to "honestly reflect on its history of aggression."

Visits to the controversial Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo by Japanese leaders have consistently prompted regular protests from South Korea and China, because it honors 14 Class A war criminals convicted by the Allied forces after World War II. Earlier in the day, Abe sent a sacred "masakaki" tree to the shrine, but didn't pay a visit, a move likely aimed at avoiding further tensions with his Asian neighbors.

Asked about Abe's ritual offering at the shrine, China's foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying urged Japan to "face squarely and honestly reflect on its history of aggression."

During a regular press briefing, Hua also called on Japanese leaders to "respect the feeling of Chinese people and other Asian victims, and properly handle relevant issues."

Japan's unrepentant attitude over its 20th-century wartime atrocities in Asia has been a cause of strained relations with South Korea and China.

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