U.S. says no 'private' call for Abe on Yasukuni issue

By Lee Chi-dong

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 (Yonhap) -- The U.S. government said Monday it continues to ask Japan and its neighbors to resolve their history row in a "constructive" way.

The State Department dismissed a news report that U.S. officials are seeking "private assurances" from Japan that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will not repeat a highly controversial visit to Yasukuni Shrine.

"The report in the Wall Street Journal is inaccurate," department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at a press briefing. "We have always said we want Japan and its neighbors to deal with sensitive issues constructively and through dialogue, but it is inaccurate that we are seeking private assurances."

Abe paid homage at the Tokyo war shrine in December, sparking a massive wave of criticism in South Korea and China.

In a report last week, the newspaper cited unnamed U.S. officials as saying they were looking for assurances from Abe that he would refrain from further comments and actions that enrage its neighboring nations.

On a trip to Tokyo earlier this week, Deputy Secretary of State William Burns said Washington's message is to encourage relevant nations to "look at constructive ways of dealing with those kinds of issues, looking forward at ways to improve relations."

"And I’ll leave the details to our private conversations," he told reporters, asked about whether he asked for assurances that Abe is not going to Yasukuni Shrine again as prime minister.

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