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"Abe Beautifying Aggression" :Sri Lankan Newspaper Ceylon Today's Interview with Chinese Ambassador Wu Jianghao

(From Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka)


June 16, 2014, Ceylon Today, a leading English newspaper in Sri Lanka, published an interview with Chinese Ambassador Wu Jianghao, titled "Abe Beautifying Aggression". The full text is as follows:

Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Wu Jianghao says that the Yasukuni Shrine is a spirit tool and symbol of Japanese militarism in its war of aggression and colonial rule during World War II. To date, the Shrine still does its utmost to deny and whitewash the history of Japan's aggression. During that period, the cities of Colombo and Trincomalee of Sri Lanka also suffered brutal bombardment by Japanese bombers.

Q: Why does China lodge strong protest against Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine?

A: The Yasukuni Shrine is a spirit tool and symbol of Japanese militarism in its war of aggression and colonial rule during World War II. To date, the Shrine still does its utmost to deny and whitewash the history of Japan's aggression. In 1978, the Yasukuni Shrine started to honor the 14 Class-A war criminals of WWII, including the top criminal Hideki Tojo. As we all know, those criminals are the primary instigators and perpetrators of Japan's aggressive expansion and colonial rule in WWII. During that period, their evil deeds brought grave disasters to the Asian Pacific and Indian Ocean countries and their peoples. The cities of Colombo and Trincomalee of Sri Lanka also suffered brutal bombardment by Japanese bombers. After the War, these criminals were solemnly trialed by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (Tokyo Trial). However, the Yasukuni Shrine now commemorates them as "spirit of martyrs", and worships them.

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe insists on visiting Yasukuni Shrine to pay homage to the criminals. His behaviour is, in nature, an attempt to glorify the history of aggression and colonialism by militarist Japan, overturn the just trial of Japanese militarism by the international community and challenge the outcome of WWII and the post-war international order. This act seriously hurts the feelings of people of China and all other countries that once suffered from Japanese militarist aggression and colonial rule and publicly defies international justice. Not only China but also Republic of Korea, Russia and many other Asian countries lodged strong opposition against Abe's visit to Yasukuni Shrine. The US and EU expressed their disappointment. Quite a number of Sri Lankans also condemned it.

Q: Japanese government has already apologized for its aggression during WWII, why don't China and some other countries pardon Japan?

A: As is known to all, Japan's military aggression in the WWII resulted in tens of millions of casualties. Although the Japanese Government, to a certain degree, has apologized after war, the right wing forces and some political leaders never give up their efforts to reverse the verdict of "Tokyo Trial" and attempt to rewrite or even beautify Japan's history of aggression. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in particular, claimed that the definition of aggression had yet to be established in academia or in international community, and that war criminality was something which losers were guilty of, never the victors, and visited blatantly the Yasukuni Shrine which honored the Class-A war criminals. The behaviour of Japanese right wing politicians fully exposed their resent of the just outcome of WWII. Their ostensible remorse is reluctant under the international pressure. The same politicians, occasionally express apologies, but immediately take actions to reverse the verdict. Nothing is capable of exceeding this kind of hypocrisy and fickleness. The past is connected to the present and future. Prime Minister Abe, in his new year address, claimed to bring back a "strong Japan". But if the "strong Japan" is based on the denial of aggression history, what does it mean to the world and regional peace? The peace-loving people have every reason to have deep concern and keep high degree vigilance.

Q: Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country. Buddhism advocates forgiveness. The Sri Lankan government advocated to forgive Japan after WWII. Why does China still focus on Japan's history issue?

A: China also has a large Buddhist population and the Chinese culture has a tradition of forgiveness. Although the Japanese invaders brought severe disaster to the Chinese people in WWII, after the War, China advocated to develop the China-Japan relations by drawing lessons from the history and looking to the future instead of bearing the hatred.

After Japan surrendered, many Japanese orphans, including some infants, were left over in China and adopted by kind-hearted Chinese people. The Chinese step-parents brought them up in spite of hardships and sent them back to Japan. China properly repatriated over a million invading Japanese armymen and Japanese citizens at the fastest speed. The Chinese government only punished 40 plus Japanese war criminals in custody who had committed serious crimes, and gave amnesty to other 1000 plus Japanese war criminals in custody and released them. The Japanese War of Aggression Against China brought a casualty of 35 million people and a property loss of over $600 billion USD to China, but just like Sri Lanka, China gave up the war compensation from Japan.

The above-mentioned practices by China fully embodied the spirit of forgiveness of the Chinese nation. But I want to say in the meantime that forgiveness must be based on principles. The wrongdoers must sincerely remorse, regret their mistakes and follow the good. But in reality, some Japanese right-wing politicians refuse to admit the history of aggression, continue to worship the war instigators and beautify the war crimes. We must expose these behaviours and struggle resolutely against them. Otherwise, it will be shameful to face the tens of millions of people slaughtered in the Japanese War of Aggression, and it is not a responsible attitude to the peaceful future of mankind.

Q: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that the door for dialogues was open and that he wanted to meet with Chinese leaders while China said the Chinese people do not welcome him. Can this be construed as China's unwillingness for discussion?

A: Prime Minister Abe has been playing a double game in China-Japan relations ever since he took office. On one hand, he claims that he would like to improve relations with China. But at the same time, he wantonly challenged China's core interest, trample on the red line of the bilateral ties and hurt the feelings of Chinese people. Judging from his moves, Prime Minister Abe's claim that he attached importance to developing Japan China relations lacks credibility. In fact, it is Abe himself who shuts the door of dialogue with Chinese leaders. If Abe really wants to improve Japan's relations with its neighboring countries, he must realize his errors and mend his way.

Q: Both China and Japan accuse each other of having military ambitions and sabotaging regional peace and stability. What is the truth?

A: As for this question, we can look at the series of actions Japan has taken in recent years in military and security matters. It vehemently pushes forward the amendment of its Pacifist Constitution, aiming at the abolition of Article 9 (which stipulates that Japan renounces war). It strengthened its military and transformed the Defence Agency to the Ministry of Defence. It tried to play with the concept of "the right of collective self-defence", and threatened to carry out pre-emptive strikes against other countries. Some Japanese even advocate that Japan should be "nuclear armed". The above-mentioned acts are taken under the banner of "restoring normal country's status" . We can not help to ask: what does "normal country" refer to in some Japanese politicians' words? Has Japan's peaceful development in the post-war 60 years been "abnormal" in their minds? Is post WWII world order "abnormal"? Japan wants to restore the right of belligerency, then with whom it wants to have a war with?

The tension in China-Japan relations suddenly escalated when the Japanese government carried out the so-called "nationalization" of Diaoyu Islands in 2012. The unilateral legal action towards the disputed islands and the efforts to strengthen Japan's own position have breached the consensus of shelving disputes by the two countries, directly leading to the escalation of tensions in the East Sea. Lately, the Japanese side has been contiguously ruffling Chinese ships which implement normal law enforcement in the adjacent waters of Diaoyu Islands, and even publicly threatened to shoot down Chinese drones. I would like to point out that China has always maintained to solve disputes through peaceful dialogues. We never take the initiative to create troubles, but we will firmly fight against the provocation imposed by others.

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