China brushed aside on offer Monday by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to meet the leaders of Seoul and Beijing to explain his visit to a controversial war shrine that has draw scathing criticism from both South Korea and China.
China's foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, made the remarks shortly after Abe expressed the intention during a press conference in Tokyo earlier in the day. On Dec. 26, Abe paid homage at the Yasukuni shrine honoring 14 Class-A war criminals convicted by an Allied tribunal after World War II. The shrine also represents millions of other war dead.
It was the first time in seven years that Japan's sitting prime minister visited the shrine, which is a reminder for both Koreans and Chinese of Japan's atrocities during World War II.
In a daily briefing, Hua accused Abe of "playing a double game in China-Japan relations" and said his visit to the shrine "severely damaged the political foundation of China-Japan relations."
"The Chinese people do not welcome such a Japanese leader," Hua said, adding that it is Abe "himself who shuts the door on dialogue with Chinese leaders."
Japan ruled the Korean Peninsula as a colony from 1910-45 and controlled much of China during World War II. (Yonhap News)