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Chinese FM hits back at Abe over WWI analogy

Published on Jan 25, 2014 4:25 AM
China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks to members of the media during a news conference in Algiers last year. -- PHOTO:REUTERS

DAVOS (AFP) - China has hit back at Japan's Prime Minister over a claim that current tensions in East Asia are akin to those between Britain and Germany on the eve of World War I.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Friday, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi said he believed the analogy employed by Japanese premier Shinzo Abe was misplaced.

In the latest salvo in a simmering diplomatic spat, Mr Wang also reiterated China's anger over Mr Abe's recent visit to a shrine which honours the memory of 14 convicted war criminals along with millions of other Japanese war dead. "It strikes me that his statement is a bit anachronistic because the current era is a world apart from the situation of 100 years ago," Mr Wang told the annual gathering of business and political leaders. "The forces for peace in the world, and they include China, are growing."

Mr Abe's comparison of the current situation in East Asia with early 20th-century Europe was designed to make the point that Britain and Germany's developed economic relationship did not prevent them taking up arms, implying that something similar could happen between China and Japan in the modern era despite billions of dollars worth of trade and investment ties.

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