History should not block Asian ties - Japan's Aso

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Japan should reflect on the pain it caused China and South Korea in the past, but history should not be made into an obstacle to future ties, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso said on Wednesday.

"I think it's necessary to view seriously the pain that we have inflicted on the people of South Korea and China in the past and Japan must also always have a feeling of reflection and consideration as a neighbour," Aso said in a speech.

He urged Chinese and South Koreans to pay heed to Japan's track record after World War Two, saying its actions in the 60 years since have demonstrated its desire for peace and a will not to repeat past wrongs.

Resentment towards Japanese aggression before and after World War Two still lingers in China and South Korea. Japan invaded and occupied parts of China from 1931 to 1945 and colonised the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945.

In a news conference ahead of Aso's speech, a South Korean envoy blamed the actions of Japanese leaders for chilled relations.

"Most disturbing is moves ... on the part of some influential leaders of Japan in responsible positions constantly pulling us, both the Japanese and the Koreans, back to memories of the unhappy past," South Korean Ambassador to Japan Ra Jong-yil said.

"However hard we may try to forget about the past, put the unfortunate past behind, some people are constantly reminding us ... rubbing salt to the wounds, scratching the old wounds so they would not heal," Ra said.

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