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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 April, 2005, 08:38 GMT 09:38 UK
China premier hits back at Japan
An Indian official, right, welcomes Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao - 11/04/05
Mr Wen was speaking during a visit to India
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has told Japan to "face up to history" and admit the suffering caused by World War II.

Anti-Japan sentiment has been high in China since last week, when Japan approved school textbooks which critics say gloss over its wartime atrocities.

Mr Wen said the strong Chinese response should make Tokyo seriously reconsider its bid for a UN Security Council seat.

Both countries have used public and diplomatic channels to trade accusations over the row.

On Monday Japanese leader Junichiro Koizumi described attacks at the weekend on Japanese property and citizens in China as "extremely regrettable".

He added that Beijing must be responsible for keeping Japanese interests safe, and said he wanted to hold talks with China to resolve the row.

Chinese protesters set light to a Japanese flag

Speaking at the end of a trip to India, Mr Wen said on Tuesday that "the core issue in China-Japan relations is that Japan needs to face up to history squarely".

In a signal of China's unease at Japan's efforts to secure a permanent UN Security Council seat, Mr Wen also said the protests should prompt Tokyo to "have deep and profound reflections" on the issue.

"Only a country that respects history, takes responsibility for past history and wins over the trust of people in Asia and the world at large can take greater responsibility in the international community," he said.

Wartime legacy

Despite increased trade between the two countries, the conduct of the Japanese army during its conquest of eastern China in the first half of the 20th Century continues to inflame passions on both sides.

China says the textbooks recently approved by Tokyo underplay Japan's military brutalities.

One book refers to the Japanese slaughter of some 300,000 civilians in the Chinese city of Nanjing in 1937 as an "incident", rather than the "massacre" it is known as elsewhere.

On Saturday a 10,000-strong gathering marched in Beijing to voice their anger at the textbooks - the city's biggest protest since 1999.

Demonstrators attacked the Japanese embassy, as well as a restaurant and some Japanese students - with protests spreading to other parts of China on Sunday.

Correspondents said the scale and ferocity of the unrest were unusual for China, and indicated tacit official support for the protesters.

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