World

China warns Japan against downplaying WWII responsibility in anniversary statement

  • Japan's former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama speaks during a rally in front of the National Diet building in Tokyo, Thursday, July 23, 2015. Protesters gathered outside parliament, opposing a set of controversial bills intended to expand Japan’s defense role at home and internationally. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

    Japan's former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama speaks during a rally in front of the National Diet building in Tokyo, Thursday, July 23, 2015. Protesters gathered outside parliament, opposing a set of controversial bills intended to expand Japan’s defense role at home and internationally. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)  (The Associated Press)

  • Japan's former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama  speaks during a rally in front of the National Diet building in Tokyo, Thursday, July 23, 2015. Protesters gathered outside parliament, opposing a set of controversial bills intended to expand Japan’s defense role at home and internationally. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

    Japan's former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama speaks during a rally in front of the National Diet building in Tokyo, Thursday, July 23, 2015. Protesters gathered outside parliament, opposing a set of controversial bills intended to expand Japan’s defense role at home and internationally. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)  (The Associated Press)

  • Japan's former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, right, and protesters rally outside the Diet building during a rally in Tokyo, Thursday, July 23, 2015. Protesters gathered outside parliament, opposing a set of controversial bills intended to expand Japan’s defense role at home and internationally. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

    Japan's former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, right, and protesters rally outside the Diet building during a rally in Tokyo, Thursday, July 23, 2015. Protesters gathered outside parliament, opposing a set of controversial bills intended to expand Japan’s defense role at home and internationally. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)  (The Associated Press)

A Chinese envoy has warned Prime Minister Shinzo Abe against absolving Japan from responsibility for wartime aggression in his statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of the hostilities.

Cheng Yonghua, China's ambassador to Japan, told a news conference Thursday that Beijing is closely watching if Abe's statement would stick to Tokyo's past expressions of remorse and show "sincerity" to the victims of Japanese wartime brutality. He says it will be a sign determining Japan's future direction and relations with Asian neighbors.

Relations between Japan and China have been strained over historical and territorial disputes, though some improvement has emerged since Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping met last November.

Abe is seen as reluctant to use the same language of apology and wants to stress Japan's postwar achievements.