BEIJING, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- China on Friday urged Japan to refrain from any action that might violate China's territorial sovereignty and use dialogues and negotation to solve an ongoing dispute over the Diaoyu Islands.
"The Japanese side should maintain Sino-Japanese relations through concrete action," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang, when talking about the recent illegal detainment and release of 14 Chinese nationals by Japan.
The 14 Chinese arrived at the Diaoyu Islands via a Hong Kong fishing vessel on Wednesday to assert China's sovereignty over the islands and were subsequently detained by the Japanese Coast Guard.
Qin said Japan's detainment of Chinese citizens near the Diaoyu Islands represents a serious violation of China's territorial sovereignty. The Chinese government strongly condemns and opposes the dangerous actions, such as converging attack, taken by the Japanese ships to obstruct Chinese vessel, Qin said.
He reiterated that the Diaoyu Islands and their affiliated islets have been part of China's inherent territory since ancient times.
Any unilateral action by Japan that targets Chinese nationals is "illegal and invalid," Qin said, adding that any action taken by Japan will not change the fact that the Diaoyu Islands and their affiliated islets belong to China, nor will it shake the resolution of the Chinese government and people to safeguard the country's territory and sovereignty.
He stressed that the Chinese side believes that dialogue and negotiation are the only suitable ways to achieve a solution to the Diaoyu Islands issue.
Seven of the 14 Chinese nationals had arrived in Hong Kong by plane at around 7:50 p.m. local time Friday. Another seven are traveling to Hong Kong via their boat, the Kai Fung 2. Maritime ships from the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong will support the vessel.