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China's state media takes snipe at Abe's 'watered-down' apology

China's state-run news agency Friday criticized Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for issuing a "watered-down" apology in his speech marking the 70th anniversary of the country's surrender in World War II.

In a commentary, Xinhua news agency said the speech by Abe was a "retrogression" from past apologies by former Japanese leaders, saying, "The adulterated apology is far from being enough for Japan's neighbors and the broader international community to lower their guard."

One day before Japan marks the 70th anniversary of the country's surrender, Abe gave the much-anticipated speech, reaffirming Tokyo's past apologies over its wartime aggression and expressing "deep remorse" for "immeasurable damage and suffering."

However, Abe did not give a fresh apology, saying future generations should not have to keep apologizing for the sufferings caused by Japan's military past.

The speech by Abe was closely watched by South Korea and China, which suffered through Japan's wartime aggression, as a gauge of the Japanese leader's revisionist tendencies.

"By adding that it is unnecessary for Japan's future generations to keep apologizing, Abe seemed to say that his once-for-all apology can close the page of history," the Xinhua commentary said.

China's foreign ministry has yet to issue a statement in response to the Friday speech by Abe. (Yonhap)