China’s President Xi Jinping highlighted Japanese brutality against both Chinese and Koreans on the final day of his visit to Seoul yesterday, amid worries about rising nationalism in Tokyo.
Japan colonised the Korean Peninsula and inflicted a brutal occupation on China before World War II — and many elderly people in both countries harbour strong resentment.
However the Japanese government approved a reinterpretation of its pacifist postwar constitution this week which will allow its military a greater international role.
“Our two countries both suffered greatly when Japan launched barbarous aggression on China and Korea and annexed and occupied the Korean Peninsula in the first half of the 20th century,” said President Xi.
He noted that a Chinese dynasty had sent troops to help a Korean dynasty defeat invading Japanese troops in the 16th century.
South Korea and China established diplomatic relations in 1992, having been on opposing sides during the 1950-53 Korean War.