Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said no one must be allowed to violate the peace achieved after World War II, singling out Japan as the two nations face off over islands claimed by both sides.
“We should not allow anyone to destroy or deny the post-war peace order,” Li said in the German city of Potsdam, site of the 1945 conference that helped define national boundaries after the Nazi defeat. It was also where terms of surrender were dictated to Japan.
Li mentioned that the Potsdam agreement reaffirmed Japan should return all territory stolen from China, including Taiwan and related islands. Tensions have flared over the last year amid a spat over uninhabited East China Sea islands called Diaoyu in Chinese and Senkaku in Japanese that Tokyo and Beijing both say belong to them.
Japan’s decision last year to purchase those islands sparked protests across China and harmed a $340 billion annual trade relationship.
Tensions were compounded last month after Japanese lawmakers visited a Tokyo shrine where war criminals are honored along with other war dead. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe then vowed to protect the islands by force.
The forces of justice and the Chinese people—and the people elsewhere who love peace—will never accept any comments or actions that seek to deny or glorify the past history of fascist aggression, Li said.
Li is visiting Germany as part of his first overseas trip since taking office, and is set to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel later on Sunday. He has also visited Switzerland, Pakistan and India during the trip.