Japan's Emperor Akihito, together with Empress Michiko, lays a wreath for U.S. soldiers killed in World War II
China says the Japanese emperor's surprise visit to a memorial honoring Koreans who died on the island of Saipan during World War II is a positive sign.

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko traveled to the U.S. territory Monday to pay tribute to the tens of thousands of people killed in fighting between U.S. and Japanese forces on the island in June of 1944.

Japan occupied much of Asia, including China and the Korean peninsula, in the years before and during the war and sent some 1,000 Korean forced laborers to Saipan.

The official Xinhua news agency quotes a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry says the royal couple's visit to the Korean war memorial shows that Japan correctly understands its history of wartime aggression.