China's Defense Ministry said Wednesday it expressed "strong dissatisfaction and concern" over Japan's behavior in the East China Sea during its recent telephone conversation with its Japanese counterpart.
China urged Japan to "stop all provocations" around the uninhabited islands administered by Tokyo but claimed by Beijing in the sea, according to the ministry. The islets are called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
The islands are "China's inherent territory," the ministry said it told the Japanese side. Japan takes the position that there exists no issue of territorial sovereignty to be resolved concerning the Senkaku Islands.
Beijing's announcement comes after Japanese and US foreign and defense chiefs in mid-March issued a joint statement criticizing China by name for threatening peace and stability in the region as it has bolstered its military presence there.
As for China's controversial legislation allowing its coast guard to use weapons in the waters the country claims, enforced in February, the Defense Ministry said it is "in accordance with international law and practice."
The legislative move has raised concerns in Tokyo that the Chinese coast guard would target Japanese vessels navigating around the islets.
During the telephone meeting, meanwhile, the two sides confirmed they will positively promote bilateral defense exchanges, the ministry said.