U.N. chief regrets ‘tensions from the past’ in East Asia

December 29, 2013

By DAISUKE NAKAI/ Correspondent

NEW YORK--The U.N. secretary-general urged Northeast Asian countries to respect the feelings of each other, particularly the “memory of victims,” after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine angered China and South Korea.

“It is highly regrettable that tensions from the past are still plaguing the region,” the spokesperson for Ban Ki-moon said in a statement Dec. 28 in response to questions from journalists.

“(The secretary-general) stresses the need to be sensitive to the feelings of others, especially memory of victims, and focus on building mutual trust and stronger partnership,” the statement read. “Leaders bear special responsibility in that regard, as the region should strive to be forward-looking and harmonious.”

The statement did not directly address Abe’s visit on Dec. 26 to Yasukuni Shrine, which memorializes 14 Class-A war criminals along with Japan’s war dead.

It only said the secretary-general is “aware” of the visit and “a strong reaction” to it by China and South Korea.

In many parts of Asia, a visit to the Tokyo shrine by political leaders is seen as glorifying Japan’s wartime past.

By DAISUKE NAKAI/ Correspondent
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U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the U.N. headquarters (Yoshiaki Kasuga)

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the U.N. headquarters (Yoshiaki Kasuga)

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  • U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the U.N. headquarters (Yoshiaki Kasuga)

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