China warns Japan's PM against 'wrong choice'

BEIJING, Nov. 11 (Yonhap) -- China on Monday warned Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe against regarding Beijing as its rival to bolster its security role in the region, saying the move would be a "wrong choice and wrong calculation."

China's foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang made the remark in response to reported comments by Abe, who cited China's rise and North Korea's nuclear threats as key reasons to create a U.S.-style national security council in Japan.

"Japan provokes China over and over again. What on earth does Japan really want to do?" Qin told reporters in unusually frank words.

"If Japan insists on taking China as a rival, it would make a wrong choice and make a wrong calculation," Qin said.

China and Japan have been locked in a bitter dispute over a set of islands in the East China Sea, which are known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan. Tension sparked in September last year when the Tokyo government purchased three of the islands from a private owner.

The conflict between the two sides over the disputed islands has reached a flashpoint, with their patrol ships playing cat-and-mouse games near the islands. Japanese fighter jets have also been scrambled as China's military aircraft flew near Japan.

Qin also accused Japanese leaders of "blatantly hyping up a so-called China threat theory."

"We hope that the Japanese side will earnestly reflect on history, face up to the reality, think about the future and follow the path of peaceful development, instead of making an issue of China at every turn," Qin said.

"Japan should do more to promote mutual trust with its neighbors and promote regional peace and stability," the spokesman added.

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