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BEIJING -- China's defense ministry on Friday denied Japan's allegations that Chinese warships targeted fire-control radars at Japanese vessels in the East China Sea.|
The ministry said that Japan's "irresponsible" remarks were made to mislead international public opinion.
"Recently, Japan has repeatedly spread false accusations that have distorted facts and defamed Chinese military's normal combat readiness training," according to a statement issued by the information office of the Chinese Ministry of National Defense.
The statement was issued responding to Japanese media report that Japan's defense ministry said Tuesday that a frigate of the Chinese navy 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.
The Japanese side also said 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 pm on January 19, a Chinese naval frigate, while conducting routine training in relevant waters in the East China Sea, spotted an approaching ship-borne helicopter of the Japanese Self Defense Force (JSDF)," said the Chinese defense ministry's statement. It added that the ship-borne radars of the frigate kept normal observation and were on alert but the fire-control radar was not used.
"At around 9 am on January 30, a Chinese naval ship found itself closely followed and monitored by JSDF destroyer Yudachi while conducting routine training in relevant waters in the East China Sea; ship-borne radars of the Chinese naval ship kept normal observation and were on alert, and fire-control radar was not used," said the statement.
"The Japanese side's remarks are against the facts," it said.
The statement pointed out that Japanese warships and airplanes have often conducted long and close-in monitoring and surveillance over China's naval ships and airplanes in recent years. It said this "is the root cause to air and maritime safety issues between China and Japan."
According to the statement, China has lodged representations to the Japanese side many times.
In the statement, the Chinese defense ministry accused Japan of unilaterally releasing untrue information to the media. It also accused senior Japanese government officials of making irresponsible remarks that hyped up the "China threat", without verifying related facts with the Chinese side.
The statement said Japan's allegations this time "recklessly" created tensions and misled international public opinion.
"We must be vigilant against and ponder such moves by Japan," said the statement.
"China hopes that Japan will take effective measures and stop stirring up tensions in the East China Sea, and stop making irresponsible remarks," added the statement.