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BEIJING - China on Friday responded to comments by Japan's prime minister on naval conflict by urging Japan to seek peace and stability in the East China Sea.
"China's stance on the East China Sea is consistent and clear," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said, urging Japan to respect history as well as reality and make joint efforts with China to safeguard peace and stability in this area.
Hong's comments came after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Japan would not tolerate the use of force in changing the order of the sea, which media reports interpreted as an apparent reference to China.
"As a maritime country, China's carrying out of its legitimate and proper maritime activities does not warrant rebuke," Hong told a daily news briefing.
Abe reportedly made the remarks in his address at the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York.