BEIJING, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- China on Wednesday expressed strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to Japan's defense white paper for 2017, saying Japan has made irresponsible remarks about China's marine activities.
In the white paper of more than 560 pages, Japan devoted 34 pages to unjustified criticism of China's normal defense construction and military activities.
Japan claimed in its defense white paper that "China has tried to change the status quo in the East China Sea and South China Sea based on its own assertions, and this has become a common concern of the region and the world at large."
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang accused Japan of meddling in the South China Sea issue, saying China has lodged solemn representations to the Japanese side.
Geng reaffirmed that the will of the Chinese government to safeguard national sovereignty and maritime rights and interests is firm.
He said conducting patrol and law-enforcement activities in waters off the Diaoyu Islands is China's inherent right and Japan is in no position to point fingers at those activities.
The Chinese side, carrying out normal sea and air activities in accordance with international law, relevant domestic laws and regulations as well as national defense needs, is beyond reproach, he said.
The construction of necessary and appropriate facilities by the Chinese side in some reefs and islands of the Nansha Islands is a legitimate right granted to sovereign states by international law, which has nothing to do with militarization and does not pose a threat to regional security, said Geng.
With the concerted efforts of countries in the region, the situation in the South China Sea has stabilized, he said.
China and ASEAN countries are focusing on strengthening cooperation to promote a comprehensive and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and jointly develop regional rules.
On Sunday, China and ASEAN foreign ministers adopted a framework of the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea, said Geng, noting that all parties affirmed the positive situation in the South China Sea and highly appreciated the early cooperation results, such as the China-ASEAN senior diplomat's hotline.
Geng said he hoped that Japan could respect the efforts made by China and ASEAN countries in safeguarding peace and stability in the South China Sea, stop intervention in the South China Sea issue, and play a constructive role in maintaining regional peace and stability.
In recent years, Japan has drawn broad attention from countries in the region and international community as it sharply adjusted its military security policy and attempted to make excuses for developing its armed forces and amending the constitution by exaggerating neighboring safety threats, said Geng.
He urged the Japanese side to learn lessons from history, stick to the path of peaceful development and act prudently in military security.
"We hope that the Japanese side could do more to help enhance mutual trust with China and other neighboring countries and to safeguard regional peace and stability," he said.