China dismisses reports of Shinzo Abe’s September 3 visit

Beijing: China today dismissed reports that Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Beijing on September 3 when the Communist nation plans to hold a grand military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of its victory over Japanese forces in WW II.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry told state-run China Daily that it “has not heard of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s September visit to China”, dismissing Japanese media reports that said the Prime Minister will visit China on September 3. “I would like to reiterate that what the Chinese side has invited the leader of the relevant country to is the ‘September 3’ commemorative activities,” the Spokesperson’s Office of Foreign Ministry said.

A front-page story in Japan’s leading newspaper Mainichi Shimbun yesterday quoted “multiple sources involved in diplomacy” as saying that “Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is set to visit China on September 3 to meet with President Xi Jinping”. The newspaper said Abe might arrive in the afternoon to avoid the parade in the morning, and “the two governments are finalizing consultations over the summit meeting”.

China is gearing up to mark the 70th anniversary of its victory in the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression. The anniversary will culminate in a military parade. China is locked in a huge maritime conflict with Japan over South and East China Sea and has ramped-up its naval surveillance fleet in big numbers as part of its attempts to assert control in the disputed regions.

China despises Abe for his nationalistic stand over the dispute and calls him a “troublemaker”. China says more than 20 million of its citizens died as a result of Japan’s invasion, occupation and atrocities, while Tokyo colonised the Korean peninsula for 35 years until 1945. Japan’s wartime history has come under a renewed focus since Abe swept to power in late 2012. He has been criticised for playing down Japan’s past and trying to expand the role of the military.

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