Japan says relations with China are "remarkably deteriorating" over the continued appearance of Chinese naval ships sailing near a group of disputed islands in the East China Sea.
The Foreign Ministry in Tokyo issued a statement Tuesday saying Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida issued the warning Tuesday when he summoned Chinese ambassador to Japan Cheng Yonghua to issue a formal protest. The ministry says Kishida accused Beijing of trying to unilaterally "change the status quo" over the islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
Cheng told reporters after the meeting that he told Kishida that it was natural for the ships to operate in the waters near the islands.
"With regards to the current situation in relevant waters, both countries need to work together to control the situation, avoid escalating and complicating the situation and eventually resolve the problem properly, following the spirit of the four-point consensus that China and Japan reached in November 2014," said Cheng.
Chinese coast guard and fishing vessels have been spotted sailing near the islands over the past several days, despite Cheng's being summoned last Friday by Vice Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama over the issue.
Relations between Japan and China, two of the world's biggest economies, have been plagued for decades by territorial disputes, aggravated by China's lingering bitterness over Japan's aggressive behavior during World War II.