China's defense ministry says it expressed "strong dissatisfaction" and "grave concern" to Japan for what it calls the country's "negative acts" toward China during a video meeting earlier this week.
Defense officials from Japan and China held online talks on Monday. The Japanese side expressed strong concern about China's new coast guard law and told the Chinese side that heightening tensions in the East China Sea and other areas is absolutely unacceptable.
A spokesperson for the Chinese defense ministry issued a comment. It says that at the meeting, "the Chinese side expressed strong dissatisfaction with and grave concern over a series of Japan's negative acts against China."
It adds that Chinese officials asked Japan to "stop smearing China."
This comment is also believed to be a response to developments earlier in March. The foreign and defense chiefs of Japan and the United States condemned China's maritime activities and expressed serious concern about its human rights situation. Also, the leaders of Japan, the US, Australia and India agreed at a "Quad" online summit to strengthen the countries' cooperation, with China in mind.
Beijing apparently wants to sound a warning to Tokyo before a planned Japan-US summit in Washington in April.
Global Times, a media outlet affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party, ran a comment by an expert on Wednesday. It warns that if Japan worsens ties with China, the Japanese economy will be affected.