China warns of reprisal as Japanese city changes disputed area name
BEIJING (Reuters) - China said on Monday that it reserves the right to respond to a Japanese city's decision to rename the administrative area, which includes remote islands that are claimed by both China and Japan, and has long been a source of friction between neighbors.
The dispute over the uninhabited islands in the East China Sea could lead to the recent tensions caused by Japan's criticism of Beijing's plan to introduce a new national security law in Hong Kong.
China has said that Japan should not interfere in Beijing's internal affairs.
The controversial islands are known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
Japanese broadcaster NHK previously reported that the Ishigaki City Assembly in Okinawa, southern Japan, passed a law that changed the name of the administrative area covering the islands from Tonoshiro to Tonoshiro Senkaku on October 1.
The law was "a serious provocation to China's territorial sovereignty, is illegal, invalid, and cannot change the fact that the Diaoyu Islands are part of China," the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.
"China's determination and determination to protect its territorial sovereignty is unshakable," the ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters at a daily meeting.
China has lodged a complaint with Japan and reserves the right to take further action, Zhao said.
NHK said the name had been changed to avoid administrative errors because another place in Ishigaki City was also called Tonoshiro.
It came at a time when Chinese coast guard ships repeatedly entered Japanese waters near the islands, NHK said.
Japan's chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, said last week that Japan would take all measures to ensure surveillance of the areas around the disputed islands.
Taiwan's government, which also claims the islands, also said its foreign ministry has "strongly protested Japan's name change".
(Reporting by Gabriel Crossley; additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Taipei; writing by Se Young Lee; editing by Louise Heavens)
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