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China Criticizes Japan over Shrine Visits


Chinese foreign minister Li Zhaoxing has criticized Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi for his repeated visits to a controversial Tokyo war shrine.

Speaking Friday in Kuala Lumpur, Mr. Li accused the Japanese leader of worshipping war criminals, and called his visits to the Yasukuni shrine unacceptable. The shine honors Japan's war dead, including convicted war criminals.

Critics says the shrine glorifies Japan's wartime past, but Mr. Koizumi says he visits the shrine to pray for peace. The issue has severely strained relations between the two countries.

Thursday, China ruled out holding a meeting with senior leaders from Japan and South Korea during next week's Asian economic meeting in Malaysia.

The three nations have met on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit for the past six years.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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