MOSCOW, February 8 (RIA Novosti) - China on Friday denied Japan's claim that a Chinese frigate directed a fire-control radar at Japanese vessels in the East China Sea.
The denial came in a statement issued by the information office of the Chinese Ministry of National Defense, quoted by the Xinhua news agency.
The statement was issued in response to Japanese media reports that the Japanese Defense Ministry alleged on Tuesday a Chinese frigate had directed its fire-control radar at a destroyer of the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) in the East China Sea at around 10 a.m. on January 30. Japan also alleged that a Chinese frigate was suspected of locking a similar radar on a MSDF helicopter on January 19 in the East China Sea.
"At around 4 p.m. on January 19, a Chinese naval frigate on a routine training mission in the East China Sea spotted an approaching ship-borne helicopter of the Japanese Self Defense Force (JSDF)," the Chinese Defense Ministry said in the statement.
It said that the frigate radars were on alert, but the fire-control radar was not used.
"At around 9 a.m. on January 30, a Chinese Navy ship found itself closely followed and monitored by JSDF destroyer Yudachi” in the East China Sea, the ministry said, adding that again, the fire-control radar was not used.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying on Friday dismissed Japan's allegations as "sheer fabrication."
Hua told a news conference China will continue to safeguard the country's territory and sovereignty “since the Japanese side triggered the disputes over the Diaoyu Islands.”
Last year the islands became the center of a dispute that spurred violent anti-Japanese protests across China and led Japanese companies to suspend operations in China. The islands (known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan), to which Taiwan also has a claim, lie along a vital shipping route and sit atop large hydrocarbon deposits.