China condemns Japanese leader's offering to war-linked shrine

China on Thursday condemned the Japanese leadership's act of sending a ritual offering to the notorious war-linked Yasukuni Shrine, seen as a symbol of the militaristic and colonial past of Japan.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida sent the masakaki offering to the Yasukuni Shrine earlier in the day on the occasion of the shrine's spring festival, according to media reports. 

The move by the Japanese side once again showed "its wrong attitude towards its history of aggression," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin at a regular press briefing.

"China resolutely opposes and strongly condemns it, and has lodged solemn representations [to the Japanese side]," he said.

Wang said China urges Japan to honor its commitment to facing up to and deeply reflecting upon its past of aggression, truly make a clean break with militarism and win back the trust of its Asian neighbors and the international community with concrete actions.

South Korea on Thursday also expressed disappointment and regret over the Japanese prime minister's move, urging Japan's leaders to squarely face history and demonstrate through action their humble reflection and sincere remorse for Japan's history.

Kishida sent a similar offering to the shrine during the autumn festival after becoming Japan's prime minister in October last year.

The Yasukuni Shrine honors 14 Class-A convicted war criminals among 2.5 million Japanese war dead from World War II.

Visits and ritual offerings made by Japanese officials to the infamous shrine have consistently sparked criticism.

Read more: Yasukuni Shrine: Controversy, history and peace

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