China says Japan PM “shuts door” on talks with war shrine visit

China says Japan PM “shuts door” on talks with war shrine visit
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (2nd L) is led by a Shinto priest as he visits Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo December 26, 2013.

BEIJING- China said on Monday that its leaders will not meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after his visit to a shrine seen by critics as a symbol of Tokyo's wartime aggression, underscoring the deteriorating ties between Asia's two biggest economies.

Abe had repeated his hopes for talks with Beijing last week, when he visited the Yasukuni shrine where Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal after World War Two are honoured along with those who died in battle.

The visit infuriated China and South Korea, both of which were occupied by Japanese forces until the end of the war, and prompted concern from the United States about rising tensions between the North Asian neighbours.

Abe said then that relations with China and South Korea were important and he hoped "for an opportunity to explain to China and South Korea that strengthening ties would be in the national interest".

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a daily news briefing that "Abe has himself shut the door on talks with Chinese leaders".

"Since assuming office, Abe has miscalculated on Sino-Japan ties, and made mistake after mistake, especially visiting the Yasukuni Shrine which houses 'Class A' war criminals. These people are fascists, the Nazis of Asia," he said.

"Of course the Chinese people don't welcome such a Japanese leader, and Chinese leaders will not meet him."

Qin called on Abe to "admit his mistakes to the Chinese government and people".

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