Shrine Visit Rocks China, S. Korea Relations

The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan), December 28, 2013 | Go to article overview

Shrine Visit Rocks China, S. Korea Relations


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to Yasukuni Shrine on Thursday has stirred Japan's relations with China and South Korea.

Since regaining power in December last year, Abe has visited 25 countries around the world, including the 10 member countries of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations, calling the trips part of his diplomacy that "views the world like a globe."

The visits have been fruitful, resulting in orders to build social infrastructure in some countries. The prime minister also achieved a degree of success in forming a "framework to contain China."

His schedule for January looks to be busy with more overseas trips, including ones to countries in the Middle East and Africa, as well as India.

With China and South Korea, however, the situation has stalled, with a path to improving relations nowhere in sight. Bilateral summit meetings between Japan and each of the two countries have not been held since May last year.

Regarding Abe's shrine visit, a source close to the South Korean Embassy in Tokyo expressed the view that it will be difficult to improve bilateral relations while Abe is in power.

According to the source, the government issued an advance notice Thursday morning to the embassies of China and South Korea, among others, that Abe would make the shrine visit. South Korean Ambassador to Japan Lee Byung Kee reportedly strongly demanded that the visit be canceled. …

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