China hailed the landmark deal between Japan and South Korea on the issue of 'comfort women' reached on Monday, but also called on Japan to be 'responsible' for its 'history of aggression'.
Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida extended an apology to the women forced into prostitution by Japan's Imperial Army before and during World War II, and also offered a compensation of one billion yen after meeting with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se in Seoul on Monday.
China welcomed Japan's move, especially as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in August had not gone down well with the Chinese and even the South Koreans.
"We hope that an improvement in relations between South Korea and Japan will be conducive to this region's stability and development," Lu Kang, spokesperson of China's Foreign Ministry, told the media on Monday.
China also urged Japan to deal with historical issues responsibly after the landmark agreement.
Japanese media were critical of China, claiming that the Chinese government had begun to focus on the plight of its 'comfort women' only after South Korea did.
The Japan Times carried a Kyodo article that stated that China "has been using historical issues as diplomatic cards against Japan".
The issue of Japanese atrocities during the Second World War had also led to strained relations between Japan and South Korea, and the apology paved way for improving ties.
Abe spoke with South Korean President Park Geun-hye over the phone on Monday following the deal.