18:58 GMT +320 March 2018
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    A group of disputed islands, Uotsuri island (top), Minamikojima (bottom) and Kitakojima, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China is seen in the East China Sea (File)

    China Urges Japan to Avoid 'Artificial' Incidents Near Disputed Islands

    © REUTERS/ Kyodo
    Asia & Pacific
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    BEIJING (Sputnik) - Beijing has called on Japanese authorities to avoid creating "artificial" incidents around the group of disputed, uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and the Diaoyu islands in China.

    "The Diaoyu islands are an integral part of China. China has historic and legal rights to sovereignty over these islands. Japan's actions can in no way change this objective reality. We urge the Japanese side not to create artificial incidents around Diaoyu and make efforts jointly with China to improve bilateral relations in the spirit of a consensus reached in 2014," Chinese Foreign Ministry's spokesman Lu Kang said Thursday.

    Earlier in the day, the Japanese Kyodo news agency reported, citing the country's Defense Ministry, that a Chinese frigate and an unidentified foreign submarine had been detected outside Japanese territorial waters near the islands.

    "We want to strongly urge China not to do anything to interfere with improving bilateral ties," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a news conference.

    READ MORE: Japan Considering Destroyer Conversion to Counter China, N Korea

    In addition, director-general of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Kenji Kanasugi met with Chinese ambassador Cheng Yonghua, protesting the incident.

    Chinese police officers. (File)
    © AP Photo/ Eugene Hoshiko
    The Chinese side explained the move by saying that its navy was in the area to monitor and follow two vessels belonging to Japan.

    According to Chinese Defense Ministry statement, its missile frigate had responded to two Japanese ships entering its claimed waters.

    Beijing strongly opposes Japanese actions, which had hyped up China's actions and "mixed up right and wrong", the statement says.

    Japan and China have been engaged in a territorial dispute over the islands since the 1970s. China says that the islands have been part of its territory since ancient times, while Japan argues the islands have been in its control since 1895. In 2014, the sides issued a joint four-point consensus on improving bilateral ties.


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