BEIJING, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Tuesday expressed "grave concern" over Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga's remarks on the Diaoyu Islands, stressing that China will not tolerate actions that violate its territorial sovereignty.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a regular press briefing that China is firm in its resolution and determination on safeguarding the sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands.
If the Japanese side deliberately provoke, it must bear the consequences, the spokesman warned.
Relations between the two countries soured following the Japanese government's unilateral move to "nationalize" part of the Diaoyu Islands in September 2012.
According to a Kyodo news agency report, the Japanese official said that Japan has the option of stationing civil servants on the uninhabited islands.
Hong urged the Japanese side to face up to history and reality, take concrete actions to correct its error and stop all provocative actions that undermine China's sovereignty so as to eliminate obstacles for improving bilateral relations.
A seven-ship fleet from the China Coast Guard patrolled the territorial waters surrounding the Diaoyu Islands on Tuesday morning, the State Oceanic Administration said. It marked the 59th Diaoyu Islands patrol by Chinese law-enforcement vessels since September 2012.
Hong said that it is normal official activity of Chinese official vessels to patrol the waters.
While resolutely safeguarding its sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands, China still seeks a peaceful settlement of disputes through dialogue and consultation, the spokesman added.