BEIJING - China and Japan engaged on Friday in a fresh round of invective over military movements near a disputed group of uninhabited islands, fueling tensions that for months have bedevilled relations between the two major Asian powers.
China's defense ministry rejected a Japanese allegation that a naval vessel had aimed a weapons-targeting radar at a Japanese military ship in the East China Sea, its first comment on the week-old incident. It said Japan's intrusive tracking of Chinese vessels was the "root cause" of the renewed tension.
A Japanese official on Friday dismissed the Chinese explanation for the Jan. 30 incident. He said Beijing's actions could precipitate a dangerous situation in waters around the islets, known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan, believed to be rich in oil and gas.
His comments came a day after Japan said two Russian fighter jets briefly entered its air space near other, long-disputed islands, prompting Japan to scramble combat fighters. Russia denied the charge.