While China has been angered by North Korea’s behaviour, including its third nuclear test in February, it has also made clear it considers U.S. displays of force in response to Pyongyang’s behaviour to be a worrisome development.
China is North Korea’s most important diplomatic and financial backer -- the two fought together in the 1950-53 Korean war -- although the ministry’s Yang would not be drawn on the subject aside from repeating a call for peace and dialogue.
JAPAN “MAKING TROUBLE”
China’s own military moves have worried others in the region, too.
China unveiled another double-digit rise in military expenditure last month, to 740.6 billion yuan ($119 billion) for 2013, and is involved in protracted and often ugly disputes over a series of islands in the East and South China Seas.
“On the issues concerning China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, some neighbouring countries are taking actions that complicate or exacerbate the situation, and Japan is making trouble over the Diaoyu Islands issue,” the white paper said.
Japan’s government said it had lodged a protest with Beijing about that comment. “There exists no territorial issue to be solved over the Senkaku”, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroshige Seko said in Tokyo.
The dispute with Japan over the uninhabited islands, which China calls the Diaoyu and Japan calls the Senkaku, has escalated in recent months to the point where China and Japan have scrambled fighter jets and patrol ships shadow each other.