China voices 'strong indignation' over Japan PM's visit to war shrine

BEIJING, Dec. 26 (Yonhap) -- China expressed "strong indignation" on Thursday over Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's surprise visit to the controversial Yasukuni war shrine, calling the shrine a symbol of Japan's "history of militaristic aggression and colonization."

"The Chinese government expresses strong indignation at the Japanese leader's trampling on the feelings of the Chinese people and other Asian people," China's foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement, shortly after Abe's visit to the shrine in Tokyo.

China also lodged "strong protest and serious condemnation" to Japan, Qin said.

Qin warned that Japan "must bear all consequences arising from" the Thursday visit by Abe to the shrine.

The Yasukuni shrine honors 14 Class A war criminals convicted by the allied forces after World War II. Visits by Japanese leaders to the shrine have drawn rebukes from South Korea and China, but Abe has become the first incumbent Japanese prime minister to visit the shrine in seven years.

What South Korea and China see as Japan's unrepentant attitude over its 20th-century wartime atrocities in Asia has been a recurrent strain on ties between the countries.

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