LONDON, Jan. 2 -- Chinese ambassador to Britain Liu Xiaoming strongly criticized Japanese politicians' visits to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine, saying such visit poses serious threat to global peace by reviving militaristic spirit.
In a signed article carried on British mainstream newspaper The Daily Telegraph on Thursday, Liu said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to the shrine "has rekindled bitter memories of Japan's past-war crimes."
Liu said Abe's visit last week was "in flagrant disregard of the feelings of his Asian neighbors," as 14 Class A war criminals are enshrined" in the shrine.
"They were among the 28 Japanese political and military leaders convicted by an international military tribunal after the Second World War," the ambassador said.
Abe's visit, which came on the first anniversary of his premiership, has sparked outcries from countries suffering from Japan's war atrocities and around the world.
It was the first by a sitting Japanese prime minister since former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi paid homage to the notorious shrine in 2006.
"Visits to the shrine by Japanese leaders cannot simply be an internal affair for Japan, or a personal matter for any Japanese official. Nor does it concern only China-Japan and Korea-Japan relations," Liu noted.
"Paying this kind of homage reveals whether Japan is trustworthy. It raises serious questions about attitudes in Japan and its record of militarism, aggression and colonial rule," he said.
Liu spoke highly of Germany's attitude toward history by saying that "a country that starts a war and ends up in defeat has two options."
"One is to face up squarely to its past, make sincere apologies and renounce militarism, as Germany did," he said, adding the German approach has contributed to regional stability and world peace, and "earned respect and acclaim from the whole world."
"The other option is to deny past aggression, allow militarism to rise and raise the threat of war. Unfortunately, Mr. Abe's actions confirm that he favors the second option: he seems determined to lead Japan on to a perilous path," Liu said, urging the international community to be "on high alert."
China and Britain are both victors of the WWII and played a key role in establishing the post-war international order that has delivered great benefits for mankind, he said.
The two countries have a common responsibility to work with the international community to oppose and condemn any words or actions aimed at invalidating the peaceful post-war consensus and challenging the international order, Liu said.
He called on the two countries to ake joint effort to uphold the UN Charter and safeguard regional stability and world peace.