China and Japan are trading angry words after Chinese Vice Prime Minister Wu Yi abruptly canceled a meeting Monday with Japan's prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi, in Tokyo.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Kong Quan indicated China had decided to cancel Vice Prime Minister Wu Yi's meeting with the Japanese leader over remarks Mr. Koizumi has made about visiting a controversial war shrine.

At a regular briefing in Beijing, Mr. Kong said China is extremely dissatisfied over the Japanese leader's plans to pay yet another visit to the shrine to Japan's war dead, where a number of convicted Japanese war criminals who committed atrocities in China are among those honored.

"During Wu Yi's visit to Japan, the Japanese leader repeatedly made remarks about (visiting) the shrine, which is not conducive to strengthening Sino-Japanese relations," he said. "We are not happy with that."

Some Japanese officials called China's action Monday undiplomatic. Japan's foreign minister, Nobutaka Machimura, expressed dismay that Chinese officials offered no apology for Vice Prime Minster's Wu's cancellation.

"If she had urgent matters to take care of, we would of course understand. But just one word of apology would have been needed," he said.

The Japanese foreign minister compared China's behavior toward Mr. Koizumi to recent protests in which Chinese demonstrators attacked Japanese facilities in several cities across China.

The protests last month centered on Chinese accusations that Japanese history books glossed over the atrocities committed by Japan during its occupation of China in the first half of the 20th century.

Chinese officials on Monday had been quoted as saying Ms. Wu had to return to China due to an urgent matter. On Tuesday, they said only that she had been previously scheduled to travel to Mongolia.