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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 May, 2005, 10:16 GMT 11:16 UK
Press warns of China-Japan crisis
Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo
Thousands visit the controversial shrine each year

Chinese Vice-Premier Wu Yi's last-minute cancellation of a meeting with the Japanese prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi, has reignited debate in the press over Mr Koizumi's visits to a shrine commemorating Japan's war dead.

Japanese papers urge more talks to prevent any further deterioration in Sino-Japanese ties in the wake of Ms Wu's abrupt departure.

Chinese commentators adopt a sharper tone, criticising both Mr Koizumi for his visits to the Yasukuni shrine and Japan's view of its wartime past.

Unilaterally cancelling a meeting with the top leader of the other country at the last minute runs counter to diplomatic etiquette, and China cannot avoid being criticised for a lack of common sense... Covering up or cutting off problems only results in creating more serious problems in the future.

Japan's Sankei Shimbun

Under the current circumstances, when mutual trust between the leaders of the two countries is lacking, the public and private circles of the two countries must think about how to prevent bilateral relations from deteriorating any further.

Japan's Nihon Keizai Shimbun

If Prime Minister Koizumi wants to continue visiting Yasukuni Shrine and at the same time improve Japan-China relations, he must provide an explanation that is thoroughly convincing to China... Since the Yasukuni issue emerged as a result of Prime Minister Koizumi's personal beliefs, he needs to come up with a good idea.

Japan's Mainichi Shimbun

Such visits are like a sitting German chancellor annually visiting the bunker where Hitler committed suicide in order to honour the Nazi leadership... Progress can be made if the Japanese government reconsiders once and for all Japan's wartime aggression, and realises that anything associated with that shameful history cannot be honoured.

China's China Daily

A statement by Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has let people have a taste of his broad and deep knowledge of Chinese culture once again... The words [of Chinese philosopher Confucius] "hate the crime, but do not hate the criminal" coming from the mouth of a national leader like Junichiro Koizumi, sounds not only like a kind of joke, but also a kind of ignorance towards history.

China's Guoji Xianqu Daobao

If the trend of worsening Sino-Japanese relations as a result of these shrine visits cannot be prevented, a political figure, who has a harder standpoint on shrine visits and who states more clearly that he will visit the shrine, is very likely to emerge, and will replace Koizumi as prime minister.

China's Huanqiu Shibao

In the next few years, no matter whether Koizumi is still in power or not, Japan will increase pressure step-by-step on China... the situation will not be calm.

Hong Kong's Apple Daily

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.




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