China urges peace after Japan increases defence budget

Beijing, Jan 28 (IANS) China Monday urged Japan to stick to the path of peaceful development after Tokyo announced it will increase the country's defence budget, Xinhua reported.

"Owing to historical reasons, any move taken by Japan in the military area will draw great attention from neighbouring countries," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily press briefing.

Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera Sunday said the yearly defence budget will be expanded by 40 billion yen ($440 million), starting from April.

"We hope the Japanese side will stick to the path of peaceful development, respect the concerns of countries in the region, take history as a mirror and do more things conducive to regional peace and stability," Hong said.

Even as media reports speculated that the Japanese budget rise was aimed at dealing with Chinese ships and planes, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe voiced his willingness to improve relations with China through dialogue.

"We have noted Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's relevant remarks," Hong said.

The spokesman said China has not changed its policy of attaching importance to its ties with Japan, as the two countries are close neighbours.

Under the current circumstances, the two sides should shoulder national and historical responsibilities as well as display political wisdom to overcome the prominent difficulties and advance the strategic, mutually beneficial relationship between the two countries, he said.

"We hope the Japanese side will make joint efforts with China to appropriately control and resolve problems through practical action," Hong added.

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