Hong Lei takes a question from the floor at a press conference in Bejing, Nov. 16, 2012. (Photo/CNS)
China on Monday expressed strong dissatisfaction over remarks made by a Japanese diplomat who said China is "a militaristic country."
Hidehisa Horinouchi, a minister at the Japanese embassy in Beijing, said if China criticized Japan for passing a secrecy law because this would cause militarism, then China had already become a militaristic country itself, according to media reports.
He also said that China had altered the status quo of the East China Sea unilaterally by establishing an air defense identification zone.
"It is totally absurd that some Japanese official has confused right and wrong, and used the occasion to attack China," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei at a daily news briefing.
"China is strongly dissatisfied with his comments," he said.
Due to historical reasons, it is normal that China along with Japan's other neighbors and the international community at large pay close attention to Japan's road to development, said Hong.
He added that Japan's censure on the issue of the East China Sea ADIZ is utterly groundless.
"We urge Japan to be modest and heed the concerns of its Asian neighbors and the international community, and make efforts to improve bilateral ties," Hong said.
The House of Councilors of Japan passed a controversial secrecy law on Friday by a vote of 130 to 82 to prevent leaks of state secrets, despite protests from the public and opposition parties.
The law, which grants the government more authority to dish out tougher penalties to those leaking sensitive secrets, has met with strong opposition.
The passing of the law marks a major step forward for prime minister Shinzo Abe's drive to improve Japan's defense capabilities.