BEIJING, Aug. 11 -- Japan's criticism of the Chinese military in a new defense white paper is ill-founded, China's Ministry of National Defense has said.
The Japanese cabinet approved the country's defense white paper for 2014 on Tuesday. It said Japan needs to improve its defense capacity to cope with "an increasingly severe security environment," citing threats from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, China and Russia.
"The white paper has played the same old tune by making presumptuous comments on China's normal defense and military development," Yang Yujun, spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense, said in a written statement on Sunday.
The white paper criticized what it claimed was a lack of transparency from China on military matters. Yang also accused it of "hyping" the establishment of an air defense identification zone in the East China Sea and a recent encounter between Chinese and Japanese military aircraft.
"The white paper attempted to play up the so-called China threat to confuse the international community. China is firmly opposed to this and has lodged solemn representations to Japan," he said.
Reiterating China's peaceful development path and defensive national defense policy, Yang said China is entitled to modernize its military without being subject to others' carping.
He said Chinese military actions in the sea and air space in which it has been active are absolutely legitimate and have showed restraint.
The Chinese military has conducted international exchanges and established a system of releasing information through spokesmen in recent years. "China's efforts to open up are obvious to the international community, and Japan's criticism [of lack of transparency] doesn't hold water," according to the spokesman.
Yang said Japan ignored the facts and devoted much of the paper to misleading words to blemish China and the Chinese military, especially after China's release of evidence regarding two Japanese self-defense force aircraft that dangerously approached a Chinese plane in June.
"Japan argued its planes did not act dangerously, which fully showed the hypocrisy of Japan on its relations with China," he said.
The white paper attempts to make excuses for Japan's lifting of its ban on exercising collective self-defense, revising principles on arms exports and its own military buildup, the spokesman said, adding that it has sparked strong concern among Asian neighbors, including China.
"How can a country that refuses to admit and repent for its mistakes in history convince people on issues such as its adjustment of military and security policies with empty rhetoric," Yang asked.
While pretending to be pacifist, Japan has brought threat to the region, stirring trouble on maritime interests and having a negative impact on Asian security, he claimed.
One the one hand, Japan proclaims to want dialogue with China. But on the other, it persists in its stance, hyping the so-called China threat, " Yang said. "We have to doubt its sincerity."
The spokesman urged Japan to reflect on its history of aggression, take history as a mirror, be cautious in words and deeds, take a peaceful development path and honor its defensive military policy so as to gain trust from Asian neighbors and the international community.