SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea's foreign minister has canceled a possible trip to Japan and China lodged objections after Japanese cabinet ministers visited a controversial war shrine, officials said Monday.
Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso and other Japanese cabinet ministers prayed at the Yasukuni Shrine over the weekend. Tokyo said Monday that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did not visit but donated a religious ornament marking the shrine's spring festival with the title "prime minister" on it.
Although the visits and donations were described as private, they set off a furor in the region. The shrine of Japan's native Shinto religion honors its war dead, including several executed as war criminals after World War II. South Korea and China both see the shrine as glorifying Japanese aggression.
"The Korean government expresses deep regrets and concerns," said Cho Tai-young, a South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman, in a statement. He urged Japan to "have a correct understanding of history and act responsibly."
Seoul and Tokyo had been discussing a two-day trip to Tokyo by Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se on Friday and Saturday. Now, Mr. Yun decided not to push for the trip, officials in Seoul said.
In Beijing, a spokeswoman for China's Foreign Ministry was quoted by state media as saying, "The Yasukuni Shrine issue relates to whether the Japanese politicians can face up to their own country's past, whether they can correctly recognize and deal with Japanese militarism's history of invasion, and whether they can respect the feelings of the victims."
"People around the world, including China, are waiting to see," she added.
Bree Feng contributed research from Beijing.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.