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China says Germans are fine if their war atonement is compared with Japan's

Published on Mar 6, 2014 3:11 PM

BEIJING (Reuters) - China won't make World War Two a key part of President Xi Jinping's visit to Germany this month, Beijing's envoy to Berlin said on Thursday, but added that Germans were fine for China to use their contrition over the war against Japan.

Three diplomatic sources told Reuters last month that China wanted to make the war a focus of Mr Xi's trip, much to Berlin's discomfort, as Beijing tries to use German atonement for its wartime past to embarrass Japan.

China has increasingly contrasted Germany and its public remorse for the Nazi regime to Japan, where repeated official apologies for wartime suffering are sometimes undercut by contradictory comments by conservative politicians Ties between the two Asian rivals worsened when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine on Dec 26, which China sees as a symbol of Tokyo's past militarism because it honours wartime leaders along with millions of war dead.

Speaking on the sidelines of China's annual meeting of Parliament, China's ambassador in Berlin, Mr Shi Mingde, said it "did not accord with reality" to say China wanted the war to be a focus for Mr Xi's visit, although he did not rule out that Mr Xi would mention it.

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