China says Japan defence review misleading, damages relations

BEIJING: China reserves the right to a "necessary reaction" after Japan issued a defence review that called on Beijing to stop building oil and gas exploration platforms close to disputed waters in the East China Sea, the Defence Ministry has said.

In the paper issued on Tuesday, Tokyo expressed concern that Chinese drills could tap reservoirs that extend into Japan's territory.

"This kind of action completely lays bare the two-faced nature of Japan's foreign policy and has a detrimental impact on peace and stability in the Asia Pacific region," China's Defence Ministry said in a statement issued late on Tuesday.

China would further evaluate Japan's defence review, or white paper, when the full text is issued and would then make a "necessary reaction depending on the situation", it said.

Beijing described Japan's annual defence review as misleading and malicious, saying it overplayed the "China military threat" and stoked tensions between the two East Asian powers. It stuck by its claims over the disputed island chain.

The white paper "maliciously hyped up the issues of East China Sea, South China Sea, internet security and military transparency", the ministry said. It also exaggerated the threat of the Chinese military, "blackening" its image, it said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the review ignored that China's maritime activities were carried out in line with international law, according to another statement posted late on Tuesday.

"The Diaoyu islands have belonged to China since ancient times ... China will continue to take necessary measures to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and Japan should not hold any unrealistic illusions," he said, referring to the disputed chain of islets, also known in Japanese as the Senkaku.

The Japanese defence review had expressed concern that the platforms being built by China could also be used as monitoring stations near the islets.

The report also commented on the disputed South China Sea, where Japan and other countries have criticised Chinese land reclamation projects as a threat to regional security.

"Japan is not a stakeholder country in the South China Sea issue, so it should not tell tales and sow discord," the Defence Ministry's statement said.

The Foreign Ministry said China's construction activities were completely within the scope of its sovereignty, and were not directed at any one country.

"We solemnly urge Japan to stop stoking tensions, provoking with contradictions, and instead undertake more activities that are conducive to regional peace and stability," Lu said.