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Chinese Foreign Ministry Calls on Japan to Pursue Peaceful Approach in Bilateral Relations

BEIJING,  (Sputnik) – The Chinese Foreign Ministry has called on Japan to remain committed to the peaceful development of bilateral relations and exercise caution in its military affairs, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in a statement on Wednesday.

The statement came a day after the Japanese cabinet approved the defense white paper, expressing concerns over the activities of the Chinese naval forces in both East and South China seas. According to the paper, China “continues to display what may be described as a heavy-handed attitude, including its attempts to alter the status quo by force.” The document caused strong objections from the Chinese top officials.

“We call on the Japanese side to carefully learn lessons of the history, and to be firmly committed to peaceful development [of bilateral relations], exercise caution in military affairs, contribute to increasing the mutual trust, as well as maintain peace and stability in the region,” the statement read.

Earlier in the day, Chinese Defense spokesman Wu Qian claimed that 34 pages out of 560 were devoted to “irresponsible remarks about China’s national defense system.” He stressed that Japan made “groundless accusations,” based on hackneyed stereotypes, that intentionally denigrated the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and deceived the international community.

China and several US allies in the region – namely Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines – have competing claims to the maritime borders and responsibility areas in the South China and East China seas. The Senkaku Islands are at the center of the heated dispute between Japan and China. The United States handed control over the chain of eight islets to Japan in 1972, but Beijing argues they were marked as Chinese territory on maps dating back to 1783.

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