SEOUL, Oct. 18 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean government expressed regret Thursday over Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ritual offering to the Yasukuni Shrine.

Abe delivered the "masakaki" tree offering Wednesday to the war-linked Tokyo shrine viewed by Koreans as a symbol of Japan's imperialistic past.

Korea was under Japan's brutal colonization from 1910-45 before it was divided afterward.

Abe was on a trip to Europe to attend an international meeting. Some other senior Japanese government officials and politicians also joined the offering to mark an autumn festival.

In a statement, South Korea's foreign ministry described the shrine as "beautifying" Japan's history of invasion and colonization.

The shrine honors convicted war criminals, including those responsible for World War II, along with more than 2.4 million war dead.

"The government can't help expressing concern and disappointment about the repeated offering and tribute by the leaders of the Japanese government and parliament," it said.

The ministry urged them to repent for Japan's past wrongdoings in a humble and serious manner on the basis of viewing history correctly.

Source: Yonhap News Agency