BEIJING, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- China warned its armed forces are capable of defending a group of uninhabited islands under Japanese control but claimed by both countries.
The dispute over the East China Sea islands, called Diaoyu by China and Senkaku by Japan, has sharply escalated since Chinese and Japanese activists separately landed on one of the islands earlier this month, each group seeking to assert their country's territorial sovereignty.
The Chinese Defense Ministry said its armed forces have the "confidence, capability" and unwavering determination to defend the islands, China Daily reported Friday.
Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said the Chinese military is closely watching Japan's moves.
"We are against any words or deeds that would escalate or complicate the situation," he said.