Japan was ratcheting up tension in the East China Sea over the ownership of disputed islands, Beijing foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Thursday, adding that it would at the same time investigate Tokyo’s allegation that a Chinese ship had locked radars on a Japanese fleet, usually considered to be a step before weapons are fired.
Japanese defence minister Itsunori Onodera said this week that the incident, which he said occurred on January 30 but took time to confirm, could have become very dangerous very quickly.
Hua’s comments came in response to Onodera’s allegation that China’s use of fire-control radar to lock onto a Japanese fleet in the East China Sea amounted to a “threat of force”.
“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,” she said at the regular press briefing.
Hua said Chinese authorities were verifying and “earnestly” 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 the four bilateral political documents,” she said.
Hua reiterated that China wishes to solve and manage problems through talks.
Crackdown on crackers
Chinese authorities have ordered retailers to stop selling fireworks named “Tokyo Big Bang” because they could damage relations with Japan, an official with the fireworks’ manufacturer said Thursday.
Authorities have passed on the message that “China is a peace-loving country and we should not do something damaging to the China-Japan friendship,” said a manager at the Beijing Doudou Fireworks Company, which manufactured the fireworks in question. He gave only his surname, Yang.