Amid the long-simmering territorial row between China and Japan, Chinese military has asserted that its submarines are free to navigate international waters.
Chinese submarines are free to navigate international waters, including the Northwest Pacific, which is also visited by other nations' maritime forces, spokesman for China's Ministry of National Defence, Geng Yansheng, said on Thursday.
Geng also criticised the so-called "China Military Threat", as described by some Japanese media, as an act of "intentionally creating tension with an ulterior political motive," state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Friday.
"Such act is irresponsible and not conducive to peace and stability in the region," he said.
Geng made the remarks in response to a question regarding some Japanese media outlets' recent, frequent reporting on the voyages of China's Yuan-type submarines in Japan's contiguous zones.
Japan's coastguard recently said that the Chinese maritime surveillance vessels were spotted inside the 12-nautical-mile zone off the Senkaku islands, which China calls the Diaoyus, in the East China Sea.
The move marked the latest in the decades long standoff between Beijing and Tokyo as they jostle over ownership of the resource-rich islands.
Last September, Japan nationalised three islands in the chain, angering China.