BEIJING, Aug. 6 (Yonhap) -- China has accused Japan of exaggerating security threats stemming from tensions with China as Tokyo warned of a potential military clash with Beijing over territorial disputes in the East China Sea.
In its annual defense policy paper published on Tuesday, Japan cited escalating territorial rows with China and North Korea's nuclear and missile developments as main security challenges.
China and Japan have been locked in a bitter dispute over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, with their coast guard ships regularly engaging in confrontation in the waters.
Responding to the latest Japanese security assessment, China's defense ministry claimed that, "Japan's hype of a 'China Threat' is aimed to make excuses for its adjustment of military security policy and expansion of armaments."
The Chinese ministry, in a statement posted on its website on late Tuesday, also denounced the Japanese assessment as "groundless accusations."
Japan approved a resolution earlier last month that reinterprets a key article of Japan's pacifist Constitution to exercise the right of "collective self-defense," which means that Japan can fight abroad for the defense of its allies if they are under attack.
South Korea and China have kept a wary eye on Japan's move to expand its military role amid concerns that the power could be misused to repeat its former militarism.
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