China says Japan tarnishing its image

Beijing, Feb 7 (IANS) China Thursday accused Japan of creating tension and tarnishing its image, and conducting "illegal activities" in China's territorial waters and airspace.

Japan's efforts to ratchet up tension runs against efforts to improve bilateral ties, Xinhua quoted foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying as saying.

The comments came in response to Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera's "allegation" that China recently used a fire-control radar to lock onto a Japanese fleet in the East China Sea.

The Japanese minister said this amounted to a "threat of force" by China.

"Now it is not a matter of China displaying its strength, but Japanese vessels and planes' continuous illegal activities in China's territorial waters and airspace," the Chinese official said.

She, however, added that China was verifying and investigating the incident.

"I want to point out that China has not changed its stance of developing relations on the basis of principles enshrined in bilateral political documents," she said.

She reiterated that Beijing wishes to solve problems through talks.

"China hopes Japan can face up to reality and history and make concerted efforts with China," she said.

Stressig that China has always acted to maintain peace, stability and development in the Asia-Pacific region, the spokeswoman called on relevant parties to work with her country for the overall benifit of the region.

Relations between Japan and China have soured since Tokyo said it would "purchase" part of the disputed Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea in 2012. China insists that the islands are part of its territory.

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