President urges Japan to face up to its wartime atrocities
Shi Jiangtao in Beijing
President Hu Jintao has urged Japan to turn apologies for wartime aggression into action and renewed warnings against Taiwan's independence in a speech wrapping up celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the anti-Japanese war.
In a nationally televised speech, Mr Hu said a series of commemorations marking the victory over Japan 60 years ago were aimed at bringing about lasting friendly ties between the two countries.
'By emphasising the need to always remember the past, we do not mean to continue the hatred,' he said at the Great Hall of the People. 'We hope the Japanese government and its leaders will handle historical issues in a serious and prudent manner and translate the apologies and remorse they have expressed for the war of aggression into concrete actions.'
He accused 'some forces in Japan' of denying its wartime atrocities and whitewashing its militarist past, a veiled reference to Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits to the Yasukuni war shrine.
'Such actions have not only breached the Japanese government's commitment regarding historical issues but also shaken the political foundation of the Sino-Japanese ties.'
Mr Hu added: 'History tells us that any attempt by a country to realise its interests through the use of threat or force ... will get nowhere. Such attempts are against ... the fundamental interests of people all over the world.'
He also reiterated his 'four nevers' policy towards Taiwan, while making apparent attempts to woo the island's opposition parties.
'We will never waver in our commitment to the one-China principle, never give up efforts to strive for peaceful reunification, never change our policy of placing hopes on the people of Taiwan and never compromise in our opposition to secessionist activities.'
Mr Hu's one-hour speech also gave rare acknowledgment to the Kuomintang's contribution to the victory 60 years ago. 'As the main force on frontal battlefields, the KMT army organised a series of major battles, which dealt heavy blows to the Japanese army.'
Highlighting the importance, retired state leaders Jiang Zemin , Li Peng and Zhu Rongji made rare appearances.