China should closely watch Japan's move related to the Diaoyu Islands even though the country's leader has shown friendliness toward China, a Chinese expert warned after two Japanese military vessels entered Diaoyu Islands' waters.
"Two vessels of Japan's Self-Defense Force entered the northeast area of Chiwei Islet of China's Diaoyu Islands," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said at a daily briefing on Thursday.
The Chinese navy monitored the vessels' movements. The Japanese vessels have left the area, Lu said, noting that China has adequate historic and legal basis for claiming the Diaoyu Islands as China's territory.
The Ministry of National Defense said the Chinese navy frigate Yiyang tracked and monitored the two ships soon after they entered the territorial waters.
"China's activity in the area is unquestionable. Japan's actions cannot change the fact that the Diaoyu Islands belong to China or shake China's determination to maintain sovereignty over it," Lu noted.
China firmly protests Japan for confusing right and wrong and hyping China's legal right-maintenance activities, the defense ministry said on Thursday, vowing to defend the country's sovereignty, security and interests by all possible means.
The Japan News reported on Thursday that a submarine and a Chinese navy warship entered the contiguous zone surrounding the Diaoyu Islands.
"China has been seeking a breakthrough on the Diaoyu Islands issue and maintaining its legal rights," an anonymous military expert told the Global Times in response to the incident.
"Chinese warships definitely have the right to navigate in China's territory. Japan does not have the right to accuse China," she said.
"Japan has been sending signals to improve Sino-Japanese relations. We hope Japan matches words with deeds," Lu said.
"Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe showed friendliness toward China in the past months, but Japan's actions in the Diaoyu Islands remind China to keep a clear understanding and stance toward Japan," Jiang Lifeng, a senior research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.
Abe said that Japan will "properly respond to" individual cooperation programs related to the China-proposed Belt and Road initiative. In December, Abe said that he wanted to take the opportunity to deepen high-level exchanges with China and elevate bilateral relations to a "new stage."
China also urged Japan to stop making trouble on the Diaoyu Islands issue.