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The Japanese government on Monday criticized Chinese Premier Li Keqiang for his comment that Japan had "stolen" islands in the East China Sea claimed by Beijing.
"That remark ignores history. (Japan) can never accept it," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference, in the latest flare-up of the bilateral dispute over the uninhabited, Japanese-administered islets called the Senkaku Islands in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
Li delivered a speech Sunday in Germany, reportedly saying Japan must return the islands that "they have stolen."
Suga countered the view. "The Senkaku Islands are part of Japan's inherent territory in terms of history and international laws," the top government spokesman said, adding any of such remarks by China will not affect the Japanese standpoint.