China on Friday responded to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's new year message calling for cooperation in addressing bilateral problems by urging him to retreat from the wrong path and to never visit the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine again.
The Japanese government released Abe's message for the Chinese Lunar New Year on Thursday, in which he proposed the two countries return to the basic focus of establishing mutually beneficial strategic relations, overcoming obstacles and moving forward together.
China hopes the Japanese side will be honest and make solid efforts to improve bilateral ties, rather than sidestepping the core of the problem, and talking in one way while acting in another, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a regular press briefing.
"For the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year, the Japanese leader's best message for the Chinese people and China-Japan ties should be this: he would step back from the brink regarding historical issues, acknowledge and correct his mistakes and never visit the shrine again," Qin said.
He said China has always attached great importance to China-Japan ties, and advocates developing bilateral ties based on the four political documents between both countries in the spirit of facing up to history.
Abe's visit to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine last December, where 14 Japanese Class-A World War II criminals are honored, sparked protests from China and the Republic of Korea (ROK), as well as international criticism. The visit caused further deterioration in Japan's relations with China and the ROK.
On the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Abe compared current China-Japan relations to those between Britain and Germany ahead of World War I.
Qin denounced Abe's comments, condemning his arms-building efforts and intention to realize his domestic political aims by building tensions with neighboring countries.
Such ambitions are very dangerous, the spokesman added.
"The reason why China and the ROK firmly oppose such behavior is that it is a major issue of right and wrong that concerns regional and world peace and stability," Qin said.
The opposition revealed China's efforts to maintain regional peace and stability and safeguard the international order based on the victory in the international anti-fascist war, he said.