BEIJING, June 5 (UPI) -- China was critical of Japan Thursday for allegedly ramping up a perceived "China threat" after the Japanese parliament protested Chinese aircraft flying over the East China Sea.
Two Japanese military planes passed over the sea May 24 and allegedly intruded on Chinese-Russian naval drills, a Chinese Defense Ministry statement said. Responding Chinese aircraft, which flew unusually close to the Japanese planes, were the cause of a protest resolution passed in the lower house of Japan's Diet.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei claimed it was irresponsible for the parliamentary chamber to pass such a measure, which he said was taken to defame China and promote the idea of a "China threat." He added the protest will mislead the public, undermine bilateral ties between the two countries and worsen tensions.
"We urge the Japanese side to respect facts, self-reflect and cease provocations," Hong said.