Japan must reassure the world that it will not repeat the past by walking down the path of militarism when U.S. President Barack Obama visits the Japanese city of Hiroshima late next week, China's foreign ministry said Thursday.
On May 27, Obama will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima since it was hit by an American nuclear bomb in 1945. Along with a second nuclear bombing on Nagasaki, these attacks forced Japan to accept unconditional surrender that hastened the end of World War II.
U.S. officials have said that Obama would not make an apology for the nuclear attacks during the historic visit to Hiroshima.
However, concerns persist among Japan's neighbors, which have suffered Japan's wartime atrocities, that the visit by Obama to Hiroshima could allow Japan to portray itself as a victim of the war.
"We hope that, by arranging other countries' leaders to visit Hiroshima, Japan will show the world that it will never repeat the path of militarism which has inflicted grave suffering on its own people and the people of its Asian neighbors," China's foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters.
"The important lesson we have learned from the war is that we should take history as a mirror, prevent the war from happening again, and firmly uphold the post-war international order," Hong said.
The U.S. atomic bombing on Hiroshima killed 140,000 people and the second bomb dropped on Nagasaki killed 70,000 people.
Next week's visit by Obama to Hiroshima, part of his May 21-28 Asian trip, is also likely to focus attention on North Korea, which has vowed to advance its nuclear weapons program despite international sanctions. (Yonhap)