Japan expresses concern about China's naval activities at APEC

Japan expressed its concern Saturday about China's increasingly assertive naval activities at an international meeting, as Beijing's territorial disputes with other Asian countries continue.

"It is critical to allow for unimpeded movement of people and goods. APEC members are connected to each other by sea and it benefits all of us to keep ensuring the freedom of navigation," Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told the ministerial meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Bali, Indonesia.

The 21-member APEC, which involves China and the United States, will hold a summit on Monday and Tuesday following the two-day ministerial talks ending Saturday.

"Establishing rules by law is fundamental for economic growth" in the area, Kishida also told the meeting, where China was represented by Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

Japan has faced growing tension with China over its protests against Tokyo's control of a group of uninhabited islets in the East China Sea, while Beijing also has territorial rows in the South China Sea with various Southeast Asian countries.

Kishida's remarks came a day after he and the foreign ministers of the United States and Australia expressed their concern over China's maritime assertiveness when they met on the sidelines of the APEC meetings.