China voices concern over Japanese PM's national security remarks

China on Thursday again voiced apprehension over Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's willingness to lift the country's self-imposed ban on collective self-defense.

"I would like to point out that due to historical reasons, where Japan is heading for in terms of its military and security holds high attention from its Asian neighbors and the international community," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a regular press conference.

He said China hopes "the Japanese side will take history as a mirror, draw on historical lessons and take concrete actions to regional peace and stability."

Abe said Wednesday during an event hosted by the Hudson Institute in New York that he is "working hard" to rebuild Japan's national security structure and that his efforts of amending the pacifist Constitution is aimed at allowing the country to exercise the right of collective self-defense and become a "proactive contributor to peace."

During the speech, in an apparent reference to China, Abe said "an immediate neighbor" of Japan "has increased its military expenditure, hardly transparent, by more than 10 percent annually for more than 20 years since 1989."

"My government has increased its defense budget only by 0.8 percent," he said. "So call me, if you want, a right-wing militarist."

Hong said Japan "should not create tensions and...step up confrontation so as to create excuses for its military buildup and adjustments of its military policy."

The current interpretation of the war-renouncing Constitution does not permit Japan to exercise the right of collective self-defense, or come to the aid of allies under armed attack.