World View: Japan's PM Visits Yasukuni Shrine, Infuriating Chinese, Koreans

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Japan's PM visits Yasukuni shrine, infuriating Chinese and Koreans
  • Israel to announce new settlements along with Palestinian prisoner release
  • Pakistan protesters block Nato supply route after new drone strikes

Japan's PM visits Yasukuni shrine, infuriating Chinese and Koreans

China's foreign minister Wang Yi bares his teeth in a scathing TV interview criticizing Abe's visit to Yasukuni Shrine (Xinhua)
China's foreign minister Wang Yi bares his teeth in a scathing TV interview criticizing Abe's visit to Yasukuni Shrine (Xinhua)

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a surprise visit to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on Thursday, saying the purpose of the visit was to pray for peace. Yasukuni Shrine is the national shrine for millions of war dead in Japan regardless of what role they played. It is still a scared place to all Japanese. The shrine was initially created by Emperor Meiji to commemorate any individuals who had died in service of the Empire of Japan during the Meiji Restoration. However, the numbers of those enshrined there have been expanded since opening in 1867.

China and South Korea are infuriated by the visit, because 14 convicted or accused Class A war criminals are enshrined there, in addition to the war dead from World War II.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said:

"China will not tolerate this. Abe's visit severely went against the principle and spirit of the four political documents between the two countries, as well as the commitment made by former Japanese administrations and leaders on historical issues, and erected a major new political obstacle to the already strained China-Japan relations.

However, according to Abe:

"Some people criticize a visit to Yasukuni as something to pay homage to war criminals, an idea based on misunderstanding.

I paid a visit to show (to the war dead) my determination to create an age where no one will ever suffer from tragedies of wars."

Thursday was also the 120th anniversary of Mao Zedong's birthday, which China celebrated with patriotic songs and TV docu-dramas. Purposely left out of this “glorious” history was any mention of Mao’s horrific mistakes: the Great Famine of 1958-61 that killed tens of millions and the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution that shattered the lives of millions. Much to the dismay of many Chinese, the party still blocks public debate of these tragedies in case it might undermine the party’s grip on power. Japan Times (Comment) and CNTV (Beijing) and CS Monitor

Israel to announce new settlements along with Palestinian prisoner release

Israel will announce plans for new West Bank settlement construction next week, to coincide with the release of 26 additional Palestinian prisoners, as dictated by the so-called Israeli-Palestinian "peace process."

The current round of the "peace process" has been driven by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. In order to keep the Palestinians from walking out of the talks, Kerry got Israel to agree to release a total of 104 Palestinian prisoners, in four 26-prisoner batches every two months. All of the prisoners have been in jail since before the 1993 Oslo Accords. Thousands of Israelis protested the release of the first two batches, because almost all of the prisoners were convicted of kidnapping, lynching or murdering Israelis, or torturing and executing suspected Palestinian collaborators.

The third batch is scheduled for release on December 29, and there is so much internal opposition to the prisoner release that Israel is reconsidering whether to go ahead with it. In addition, the Israelis say that the prisoner releases create an "atmosphere of terror" that incite further terrorist acts by the Palestinians. In order to pacify the internal opposition, Israel is expected to pair the prisoner release with a new announcement of West Bank settlements -- something that will infuriate both John Kerry and the Palestinians.

Whether the prisoner release goes ahead or not, this new version of the peace process never had any chance of success. If the prisoner release does not go ahead, then the peace talks end now; if the prisoner release does go ahead, then the peace will end after the release of the fourth and last batch of prisoners in March. Israel National News and Arab News/AFP

Pakistan protesters block Nato supply route after new drone strikes

A U.S. drone strike early Thursday morning killed at least four suspected militants. These drone strikes are extremely unpopular with the Pakistani, and they're condemned by the government as a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty and territorial integrity. However, it's widely believed that the drone strikes have the tacit approval of Pakistan's army and intelligence services.

Protesters reacted to the drone strikes by blocking the more southern of the two Nato supply routes through Pakistan. However, this blockage was only temporary, as police ordered the blockade to end.

There are two truck supply routes from Pakistan into Afghanistan. Both routes start in Karachi, Pakistan's principal port in its southern Sindh Province, on the Arabian Sea. From there, one route goes north, through the tribal area, and the other is more southern, passing through Balochistan Province into Afghanistan. The northern route has been blocked since December 3 by activists led by former cricket superstar turned anti-American politician Imran Khan. Khan's protesters also led Thursday brief blockade of the southern route.

NATO convoys coming through Pakistan were originally the principal source of logistical support for the allied Forces in Afghanistan, at one time accounting for 80 to 90 per cent of all supplies for NATO Forces. However, Nato forces have for years been seeking alternative supply routes. Starting on February 20, 2009, shipments began arriving through the the Northern Distribution Network (NDN), a series of rail, water and road links to deliver cargo to Afghanistan through the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, and the NDN was carrying 40% of the supplies by 2011. Between July 2012 and February 2013, 28,000 containers came through the NDN into Afghanistan, while only 40 containers moved through Pakistan. South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP - India) and Dawn (Pakistan)


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