Please read: Japanese PM Abe visits notorious Yasukuni shrine despite opposition
China strongly condemns Japanese PM's visit to Yasukuni shrine
BEIJING, Dec. 26 -- China on Thursday strongly condemned Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to the Yasukuni shrine, saying the Japanese leader's move has deeply hurt the feelings of Asian war victims.
"(We) strongly protest and condemn the Japanese leader's wrongdoing," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said immediately after Abe's Thursday visit to the shrine, where 14 WWII class-A war criminals are honored.
Abe's visit is the first by a serving Japanese prime minister since 2006. Former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's annual visits to the shrine during his tenure from 2001 to 2006 were a major factor that affected the ties between Japan and its Asian neighbors.
Japanese militarists' aggression brought atrocities to China and some Asian countries and deeply hurt the Japanese people, Qin said.
Qin labelled the Yasukuni shrine as "a spiritual tool and symbol" of Japanese aggression in WWII.
Abe's visit to the shrine whitewashes Japanese aggression and colonial rule, overthrows the international community's trial of Japanese militarism and challenges the post-war international order, said the spokesman.
Qin said Japanese leader's challenge of justice and historical trend gives its Asian neighbors and the international community every reason to be highly vigilant and deeply concerned over what road Japan will take in the future.
Japanese politicians visiting the Yasukuni Shrine anger Japan's neighbors such as China and the Republic of Korea (ROK). Since Abe took office, his government has shown an irresponsible attitude to Japan's war history by refusing to apologize to its Asian neighbors and trying to revise the pacifist constitution.
Qin said China-Japan relations have faced "severe difficulties" since the Japanese government announced in September 2012 its plan to "purchase" part of the Diaoyu Islands, a move that contributed to the disintegration of bilateral relations.