China summons Japanese ambassador over minister's visit to war shrine

BEIJING, Oct. 18 (Yonhap) -- China's foreign ministry summoned Japan's ambassador to China on Friday and delivered a "strong condemnation" over a visit by a Japanese cabinet minister to a controversial war shrine, an official said.

The summons to Ambassador Masato Kitera came shortly after Japan's internal affairs minister Yoshitaka Shindo visited the Yasukuni Shrine during the shrine's annual autumn festival. The shrine honors 14 Class A war criminals convicted by the Allied forces after World War II.

"The issue of the Yasukuni shrine is an issue about whether Japan correctly views and deals with its history of aggression and colonial rules and respects the feelings of victimized countries including China," China's foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters.

"The Japanese cabinet member's visit to the Yaskuni shrine is a blatant attempt to whitewash Japan's militarism and its history of aggression," Hua said during a regular press briefing.

The visit by Shindo occurred a day after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a ritual offering at the shrine, drawing rebukes from South Korea and China.

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

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