S. Korea warns Japan over trips to war shrine on anniversary of WWII surrender

Hundreds of South Korean veterans shout anti-Japan slogans during a rally outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul on Thursday, May 23, 2013. South Korea on Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013, warned Japanese politicians against visiting a controversial war shrine o
Hundreds of South Korean veterans shout anti-Japan slogans during a rally outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul on Thursday, May 23, 2013. South Korea on Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013, warned Japanese politicians against visiting a controversial war shrine on the anniversary this week of its surrender in World War II. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL (AFP) - South Korea on Tuesday warned Japanese politicians against visiting a controversial war shrine on the anniversary this week of its surrender in World War II.

The Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo, which honours some 2.5 million war dead including 14 top war criminals, has been a constant source of tension in North-east Asia.

South Korea and China both insist that official visits to the site are a calculated affront to those countries that suffered under Japan's imperialist aggression.

"We once again stress that there should be no trips by top Japanese politicians to the Yasukuni shrine," South Korean foreign ministry spokesman Cho Tai Young told reporters.

"Our government and people will never tolerate such visits," he said.

Many South Koreans believe Japan has failed to atone for abuses carried out during its 1910-1945 colonial rule over the Korean peninsula.

Sources told AFP earlier this month that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will not visit the shrine on August 15 - the anniversary of the Japanese surrender.

Mr Abe, a hawkish nationalist, has stayed away from Yasukuni since taking office in December, but has defended the right of other leaders to visit the site.