In Beijing, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi summoned Japanese ambassador to China Koreshige Anami to express concern over the project.
Japan launched the natural resources exploration Wednesday in the disputed waters to the east of so-called "medium line" which China has not formally accepted, as it was proposed unilaterally by the Japanese.
"China cannot tolerate Japan's move imposed upon others and firmly opposes the dangerous provocative act," Wang said.
He said the demarcation of the East China Sea can only be solved through negotiations, and urged the Japanese to abide by international laws and immediately stop the exploration.
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