BEIJING, July 22 (UPI) -- China's military has rebuked Japan over "improper" and malicious comments about China in Tokyo's latest defense review report.
The white paper, approved by the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday, criticized China's maritime activities, such as undersea gas and oil development in the East China Sea, and actions in the South China Sea, calling them threats to regional security.
It also came amid a campaign by Abe for legislation to allow Japan to come to the military aid of allies even if Japan itself was not attacked, and a stronger role in international peace-keeping.
"Japan's annual defense white has made improper comments on China's justified national defense and military development, maliciously hyped up such issues as the East China Sea, the South China Sea, cyber security, military transparency and so forth, played up the fallacy of the so-called China's military threat and defamed the Chinese armed forces, which is just cliché," the Information Affairs Office of China's Ministry of National Defense stated to the press.
"To strengthen the modernization drive of the national defense and military is the legitimate rights for China as a sovereign state and others have no rights to make irresponsible comments. "
China and Japan are in dispute over Beijing's unilateral drilling for oil and natural gas in the East China Sea, which disregards a 2008 agreement. They are also in dispute over sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.
Japan says it had to scramble jets of its Air Self-Defense Force 464 times last year against Chinese aircraft close to Japanese airspace.
China's land reclamation in the South China Sea, in which it is in territorial disputes with the Philippines, Vietnam and others, is also of concern to Tokyo.
Beijing said the South China Sea dispute is none of Japan's business "so it should not stir up enmity, sow discord, and jeopardize the regional peace and stability in the South China Sea."