China accuses Japan of stoking tensions with air defence rumours
BEIJING (AFP) - China has accused Japan of heightening regional tensions with "rumours" that Beijing planned to declare a new air defence zone over the South China Sea.
Foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said right-wing forces in Japan had repeatedly made such allegations with the intention of shifting international attention from the "plot" to change Japan's pacifist constitution, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
"We sternly warned these forces not to mislead public opinions with rumours and play up tensions for their own selfish benefit," he said in a press release Saturday quoted by Xinhua.
Japan's Asahi Shimbun daily reported on Friday that Chinese air force officials have drafted proposals for a new air defence identification zone (ADIZ) that could place the Paracel Islands - claimed by both China and Vietnam - at its core.