China condemns Abe's remarks over disputed islands
Beijing: Angered by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's anti-China remarks on the disputed islands, China on Friday lodged a diplomatic protest with Tokyo, accusing it of distorting facts to mislead world opinion.
"China made strong representations with Japan over Abe's comments that characterised Beijing as having a 'deeply ingrained' need to challenge neighbours over territory", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said today.
He said China is strongly dissatisfied with Abe's comments that distort facts, attack and defame China and stir up confrontations between the two countries.
Abe in an interview with The Washington Post, has said that China is in a "deeply ingrained" need to spar with Japan and other Asian neighbours over territory, because the ruling Communist Party uses the disputes to maintain strong domestic support.
He added that the Party used the dispute over the uninhabited islands called Diaoyu by China and Senkakus by Japan in September last ahead of the once-in-a-decade leadership transition.
Encouraged by the government, thousands of Chinese rallied against Japan in rare protests with many violent incidents against Japanese firms.
Since then the Chinese warships has maintained steady patrolling around the islands in East China Sea challenging the Japanese coast guard’s administrative control of the islets.
Abe's scheduled meet with Barack Obama in US on Friday, is being closely watched in Beijing.
US has said that it takes a neutral stand on the island sovereignty but its defence treaty with Japan covered the islands, which meant that it would come to Japan’s defence if the islands are attacked.
Hong urged the Japanese government and leaders to take a correct view of China and its development, pursue a positive policy with China, show sincerity with actions and make efforts to improve bilateral relations.
He defended the Chinese ships patrolling the islands saying that China carries out normal maritime activities in accordance with domestic and international laws.
Hong said China is committed to developing relations with Japan but will not sit by and watch the country distort China's diplomatic policy or make antagonistic moves regarding territorial issues.
"Thus, freedom and security of navigation in the East China Sea and South China Sea have never been affected," Hong said.
Hong added that Japan should do more to enhance bilateral trust in politics and security while working for regional peace and stability, rather than act contrarily.