Abe to skip Bei­jing visit dur­ing WWII cer­e­monies

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe will not visit main­land China next week, the gov­ern­ment said Mon­day, as Bei­jing pre­pares for a huge mil­i­tary pa­rade to mark the 70th an­niver­sary of Tokyo’s de­feat in World War II.

Abe had de­cided to put off a visit “given the sit­u­a­tion in par­lia­ment,” said top gov­ern­ment spokesman Yoshi­hide Suga. The prime min­is­ter faces a par­lia­men­tary back­lash over his ef­forts to ex­pand the role of the coun­try’s mil­i­tary.

But lo­cal media said Ja­pan’s gov­ern­ment was con­cerned about the anti-Ja­panese na­ture of the planned mas­sive pa­rade through cen­tral Bei­jing and other events to com­mem­o­rate Tokyo’s World War II sur­ren­der.

Abe had pre­vi­ously ex­pressed a de­sire to meet main­land Chi­nese leader Xi Jin­ping in early Septem­ber, but the talks had not been con­firmed.

“We hope to work to fur­ther de­velop the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the two na­tions by cre­at­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for the lead­ers to have talks at in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ences and other events,” Suga told re­porters.

The an­nounce­ment con­firms that Abe will stay away from the Sept. 3 com­mem­o­ra­tions in China to mark the end of what Bei­jing calls the “Chi­nese Peo­ple’s War of Re­sis­tance against Ja­panese Ag­gres­sion and the World Anti-Fas­cist War.”

Ja­pan oc­cu­pied parts of China from the 1930s un­til the end of World War II and Bei­jing says mil­lions died as im­pe­rial Ja­panese troops stormed across Asia.

Xi at­tended a sim­i­lar pa­rade in Moscow in May com­mem­o­rat­ing vic­tory over Nazi Ger­many. Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin is due to re­turn the ges­ture by trav­el­ing to the Bei­jing event.

Putin is by far the most prom­i­nent world leader com­mit­ted to at­tend, with lead­ers of most Western and Western-al­lied coun­tries, in­clud­ing the United States, stay­ing away amid con­cerns over Bei­jing’s in­creas­ingly as­sertive ac­tions in the re­gion.

South Korean of­fi­cials said last week that Pres­i­dent Park Geun-Hye would at­tend the com­mem­o­ra­tions, but no fi­nal de­ci­sion had been made on whether she will at­tend the show­piece pa­rade it­self.

In Tokyo, Abe and his al­lies are fac­ing a back­lash over deeply un­pop­u­lar se­cu­rity bills that could pave the way for Ja­panese troops to see com­bat — in de­fense of al­lies — for the first time since the war.

Ef­forts by the na­tion­al­ist Abe to ex­pand the role of paci­fist Ja­pan’s Self-De­fense Forces have an­gered main­land China’s lead­ers, while sim­mer­ing ter­ri­to­rial dis­putes be­tween Tokyo and Bei­jing have also hurt re­la­tions.

Abe’s re­cent war an­niver­sary speech up­set neigh­bors China and South Korea, which branded it a non­apol­ogy for Tokyo’s wartime record.

Dur­ing the closely watched speech, Abe ex­pressed re­gret but also said fu­ture gen­er­a­tions need not apol­o­gize for Ja­pan’s wartime con­duct.

AP

In this April 22 file photo, main­land Chi­nese leader Xi Jin­ping, right, shakes hands with Ja­pan’s Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe dur­ing their bi­lat­eral meet­ing on the side­lines of the Asian African Sum­mit in Jakarta, In­done­sia.

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