China launched a scathing diplomatic attack against Japan on Wednesday, warning African nations of an impending “resurrection of Japanese militarism” and branding Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a “troublemaker”.
In a press conference held the day after Abe wrapped up a landmark African tour aimed at boosting Japan’s presence in the continent, China’s ambassador to the African Union accused him of trying to undermine Beijing’s own diplomatic reach.
“Abe has become the biggest troublemaker in Asia,” Xie Xiaoyan, who is also China’s ambassador to Ethiopia, told reporters.
“He has worked hard to portray China as a threat, aiming to sow discord, raising regional tensions and so creating a convenient excuse for the resurrection of Japanese militarism,” the ambassador said at the news conference, during which he showed photographs of tortured and dead Chinese victims of the second world war.
He alleged that the conservative Japanese leader’s visit to Africa was part of what he described as a “China containment policy”.
“The world will have to be on the alert that this prime minister is leading the country onto a very dangerous road, and the international community should do everything to prevent Japan from going down even further along the road,” he said.
Xie also repeated criticism over Abe’s visit last month to the Yasukuni war shrine, believed to be the repository of around 2.5 million of Japan’s war dead, including several high-level officials executed for war crimes after the second world war.
“Think how provocative it would be if Germany were to pay homage to a shrine honouring say, Hitler,” he said.
Abe’s three-country Africa tour, which took him to Ivory Coast, Mozambique and Ethiopia, was aimed at boosting Japan’s economic and political ties with Africa, where China’s widespread investments and interests are long-established.