BEIJING (Reuters) - China said on Monday its navy had the right to pass though a strait that connects the Sea of Japan with the Pacific Ocean, dismissing Japanese misgivings after a Chinese warship entered the area.
Japan's foreign ministry expressed concerns on Sunday over a Chinese information gathering ship entering Japanese waters while sailing along the Tsugaru Strait.
"The Tsugaru Strait is a non-territorial strait and therefore, international ships such as naval ships have the rights of navigation," China's defense ministry said in a statement on its website (www.mod.gov.cn).
"The activities of China's warship are in line with international laws and Japan has ulterior motives with its accusations and hyping up of the situation."
China and Japan have long had disputes over maritime issues, such as claims over islands in the East China Sea and South China Sea.
Reporting by Zhang Min in Beijing and Lee Chyen Yee in Singapore; Editing by Robin Pomeroy