If Japan really wants to live in peace with its Asian neighbors, it should take a hard look at its attitude toward history and learn from Germany in this respect, says China’s ambassador to Britain.
In an article published on Friday’s Financial Times, Liu Xiaoming noted that “Japan has never seriously reflected on its behavior during the Second World War.”
Senior Japanese officials often pay tribute to Yasukuni Shrine, where WWII war criminals are enshrined, and Japanese leaders’ occasionally offered grudging apologies “have never convinced its neighbours,” he said.
“Worshipping war criminals is serious, but unjust territorial claims are dangerous,” he added, referring to Japan’s recent provocations over China’s Diaoyu Islands.
Abundant historical records show that Diaoyu Islands have been an integral part of China’s territory for centuries, the ambassador said.
The islands and Taiwan were seized by Japan during the first Sino-Japanese War in 1895. However, the Cairo Declaration signed by the leaders of China, Britain and the United States in 1943 stated in explicit terms: “All the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese” shall be restored to China.
The recent tension between China and Japan is the result of the Japanese government’s illegal “purchase” of Diaoyu Islands, he said, stressing that the friction is caused solely by Japan.
In recent years, he said, Japan has taken calculated steps to strengthen the so-called “actual control” of Diaoyu Islands.
The recent behavior of Japan gives China no option, and China has to respond and inhibit further Japanese escalation, he said.
China’s policies on Diaoyu Islands are aimed at safeguarding its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and they are lawful and justified, Liu said.
“All facts point to one conclusion: It is Japan who is attempting to negate the outcome of the war against military fascism and defy postwar international order,” he said.
Citing Winston Churchill’s words that “attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference,” Liu urged Japan to take the quote to heart and learn from European actions, in particular postwar Germany.