China said on Thursday that it will continue to carry out regular sea and air patrols around the disputed islands on the East China and South China seas.
China will continue to oppose any infringement on the country's sovereignty over territorial waters by Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines, Liu Caigui, director with the State Oceanic Administration at a national conference on maritime work.
"Faced with a sharper and more complicated situation, we will take more responsibilities to steadfastly maintain the country's maritime rights and interests," Liu said.
China will also repair damaged territorial sea base points, complete a maritime name list of the waters off the South China Sea, and carry out research in the demarcation of the 200-nautical miles outer continental shelf, the administration said.
China's firm reiteration comes days after Japan said it could order its air force to fire warning shots if they encountered trespassing Chinese aircraft inside what Tokyo considers its own territorial waters.
Both countries are locked in a dispute over a group of uninhabited islands on East China Sea, which China calls Diaoyu and Japan calls Senkaku
Reports in the Japanese media said the number of Chinese military planes flying near Japan's "air-defence identification zone", including the PLA Air Force's Y-8 multi-role cargo planes and other intelligence-gathering aircraft, had increased since Japan bought three of the disputed islands, in the East China Sea, in September.
"Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islets have been China's inherent territory. Patrols conducted by Chinese planes and ships in waters off the islands represent normal administrative activities for the purpose of exercising jurisdiction," ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in response to a question about the Japanese report.
China in a commentary on state-run Xinhua news agency called it a "provocation" which could lead the relationship between the two countries to a "disastrous abyss."
"It is the latest provocation by the newly installed Shinzo Abe administration to test the response as well as the tolerance of China and of the broader international community," the commentary said.
It added, "Over the Diaoyu Islands issue, Japan has already made a mistake by attempting to challenge the international order established after the WWII. Now by talking about "warning shots," it slipped further into the wrong direction."