China called on Japan on Thursday to recognize its claim to disputed islands in the East China Sea after Tokyo approved new schoolbooks that express a competing Japanese claim.
"The Diaoyu Islands and its affiliated islands have been an integral part of China for some time and the Chinese side has indisputable legal grounds for this," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang, when asked to comment on the textbook revisions.
"We hope the Japanese side will take seriously the solemn position of the Chinese side," Qin said.
Japan 's Education Ministry on Wednesday approved new textbooks for 2007, some only after they were changed to say that the islands called the Senkakus by Japan and the Diaoyu by China are an integral part of Japan .
China has reportedly proposed joint exploration of separate gas deposits. But Japan says it had no intention to jointly develop gas fields near the islands.
Qin would not say whether China planned to complain to the Japanese government or take other action. He said Beijing addresses such issues "through appropriate means."
Ties between Japan and China have deteriorated sharply in the past year as the two feuded over maritime gas deposits near the islands as well as interpretations of World War II history and other issues, reports the AP.
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