China asks conscience of Japan 70 years after war

Updated: 2015-03-08 14:27


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BEIJING - Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Sunday asked Japanese politicians to use their own conscience while judging the history 70 years after Japan lost a war with China.

"Seventy years ago, Japan lost the war. Seventy years afterwards, it should not lose the conscience," Minister Wang, a former Chinese envoy to Japan, said at a press conference on the sidelines of China's annual parliamentary session.

"The more the perpetrator is conscious of his or her guilt, the more relieved the victim can feel about the suffering," Wang quoted an unnamed veteran Chinese diplomat as saying. "This is a common sense in inter-personal communication, and a correct attitude towards history as well."

The choice is Japan's, whether it opts to "carry the burden of history, or make a clean break with its past," he said.

China was invaded by Japan in the first half of the 20th Century, and troubling wartime memories have soured relations between the two neighboring countries for decades.

Ties were further poisoned with the Japanese government's "purchase" of the Diaoyu Islands in September 2012 and the repetitious visits by Japanese politicians to the Yasukuni Shrine where WWII war criminals are also honored.

Commenting on the historical issues that have been "haunting the China-Japan relationship," Wang said Japanese politician should "first ask themselves what they have done," adding that righteous people in the world will make their own judgement.

Japan invaded northeast China in 1931 and had conducted a full-scale invasion since 1937. By the end of World War II, more than 35 million Chinese were killed or wounded during the Japanese aggression.

China never caved, pinning down more than half a million better-armed Japanese troops -- men and material that would otherwise have threatened India or even the United States.

On Sept. 2, 1945, Japan signed the formal surrender and China has declared the following day, Sept. 3, as the Victory Day.

China announced a series of commemorative events, including a military parade, to mark the 70th anniversary of the WWII victory, and would invite leaders from all relevant countries and international organizations to China for the commemorations.

China welcomes the participation of "anyone who is sincere about coming," Wang said Sunday.

"Our goal is to remember history, commemorate the martyrs, cherish peace and look forward to the future," he said.