China to hold military drills amid South China Sea tensions
Picture for representation Reuters

China's ambassador to Japan urged Japan's foreign minister, Fumio Kishida, to resolve East China Sea dispute with diplomacy. China argued that the islands in the East China Sea, which are claimed by both the countries, are integral part of China and are strategically located and the dispute should be resolved through proper dialogue.

"I told him that the Diaoyu (islands) are an integral part of Chinese territory and that it is natural that Chinese ships conduct activity in the waters in question," Cheng Yonghua told reporters after his meeting with the foreign minister.

China and Japan are already at loggerheads with each other over the East China Sea islands. Recently, Japan had claimed that an increasing number of Chinese government vessels and hundreds of fishing boats are sailing near the disputed islets called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

This friction between Asia's two largest economies heated up since last Friday when, according to Japanese officials, Chinese activities near the disputed area have increased drastically.

Yoshihide Suga, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary, said that his country would request China not to escalate its activities in the East China Sea.

Meanwhile, Japan has stepped up the patrolling by the coastguards in that area.

However, China's foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that China has irrefutable claim over the island and the water there.

Japan, on August 7, issued a protest to Beijing after China installed radar equipment in a gas exploration platform near the disputed waters in the East China Sea.

The Japanese media reported that the nation is scared the radar could be a sign of China's intentions to use the gas exploration platforms as military stations in the conflicted zone.

In 2008, both the countries had a mutual agreement to maintain cooperation on resources development in the area but no official border was drawn between them.