Xi Jinping's Germany Trip: Berlin Nixes Holocaust Memorial Request
Amid tensions over Japan's historical war crimes, Chinese President Xi Jinping had wanted Chancellor Angela Merkel to show him World War II memorials during his upcoming visit to Berlin. Germany, however, wants no part of Beijing's propaganda offensive.
China, Reuters reported in February, wants Japan to be more like Germany -- specifically, it wants Tokyo to do more to acknowledge the suffering Japan inflicted on China during World War II. Chinese President Xi Jinping wanted to underline that desire during his upcoming March visit to Berlin by taking in some of the myriad war memorials which dot the German capital.
The German government, Berlin sources told SPIEGEL, wants to avoid becoming involved in the tiff over history currently straining relations between Beijing and Tokyo. Government sources told SPIEGEL that Xi was, of course, welcome to visit World War II memorials on his own time.
In recent years, China has repeatedly contrasted Germany's decades-long expressions of contrition for the horrors of World War II with Japan's alleged inaction. Tokyo has repeatedly apologized for the suffering visited upon China during the war, but periodic visits by top Japanese officials to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors wartime leaders in addition to the victims of the war, have led China to question Japan's stance on the issue. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the shrine at the end of December.
Germany is skittish about China's renewed focus on World War II. An unnamed German diplomatic source told Reuters in February that "the Germans are really uncomfortable with this kind of thing. They don't like China constantly comparing them with Japan and going on about the war."
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