Tags: China | Premier | Questions | Japan | Council | Seat

China Premier Questions Japan Council Seat

Tuesday, 12 April 2005 12:00 AM

China already is a member of the elite club of five powers with permanent Security Council status along with United States, Russia, Britain and France.

Wen's comments followed a weekend of anti-Japanese protests in several Chinese cities, touched off by Tokyo's approval of a new history textbook that critics say minimizes Japanese wartime atrocities.

About 1,000 people on Saturday threw rocks and eggs and broke windows at Japan's embassy in Beijing. Crowds rallied outside Japanese stores and consulates in other cities. Two Japanese students in Shanghai were assaulted with ashtrays and beer glasses.

Wen said the protests "target Japan's attempt to become a permanent member" of the Security Council with power to veto U.N. actions. He said the protests should prompt "deep and profound reflections" by Tokyo.

Though Beijing is clearly uneasy at Tokyo's new diplomatic and military ambitions, the government until now had refrained from taking a public position on Japan's bid for a Security Council seat. China regards Tokyo as its chief rival for the status as Asia's dominant power, and has invoked Japan's wartime past in arguing against allowing it a bigger political and military role in other contexts.

"Last century the aggression war waged by Japan inflicted huge and tremendous suffering and hardships on people in China, Asia and the world at large," Wen told reporters in New Delhi.

Japan has responded with diplomatic protests, demands for an apology and compensation for damages and requests for better security. On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura said he was going ahead with plans to visit Beijing next week for talks with his Chinese counterpart despite the protests.

"It is important to deepen understanding between the foreign ministers and engage in activities that would help promote friendship between Japan and China," Machimura told reporters.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Qin Gang, wouldn't say Tuesday whether Beijing planned to issue an apology. He suggested the protests were justified, citing the Chinese public's unhappiness at "the wrong practice and attitude adopted by the Japanese side on its history of aggression."

Amid the controversy, Chinese media on Tuesday reported the discovery of munitions and chemical weapons abandoned by Japan's military after World War II — another key source of Chinese public anger. A cache of 20 mortar rounds and bombs was found in the northeastern city of Qiqihar last weekend, the official China Daily newspaper reported.

The Beijing Youth Daily newspaper said Japanese chemical weapons were found in the northeast on March 26. It was unclear why the March discovery wasn't reported until Tuesday.

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China already is a member of the elite club of five powers with permanent Security Council status along with United States, Russia, Britain and France. Wen's comments followed a weekend of anti-Japanese protests in several Chinese cities, touched off by Tokyo's...
China,Premier,Questions,Japan,Council,Seat
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2005-00-12
Tuesday, 12 April 2005 12:00 AM
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