Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Monday accused Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of endangering cooperation among east Asian nations by repeatedly visiting a controversial war shrine. Koizumi's most recent visit to Tokyo's Yasukuni shrine, in October, prompted Wen and South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun to call-off planned meetings with him at this week's Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Malaysia.
Koizumi "paid respect at Yasukuni Shrine five times, hurting the feelings of South Korean and Chinese people very much and putting a lot of obstacles to China-Japan relations as well as Korea-Japan relations," Roh's chief aid, Chung Woo-sung, quoted Wen as telling Roh in a one-on-one meeting.
The escalating feud underscores the difficulties faced by Asian nations meeting this week as they attempt to expand and strengthen their regional grouping.
China and South Korea, both occupied by Japanese forces before 1945, say Japan has not fully atoned for wartime atrocities, reports the AP. I.L.