China media: Japan tensions

image captionChinese papers say Mr Abe is not serious about solving territorial disputes

Media criticise Japan's desire to play a "more assertive" role in Asia, saying this leaves no room for negotiation to solve territorial disputes.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday said other countries want Japan to adopt a more assertive leadership role in Asia to counter the growing power of China.

Beijing said any attempt by Japan to shoot down Chinese drones would be considered "an act of war".

The statement was referring to reports that Mr Abe had approved defence plans that envisaged using air force planes to shoot down unmanned Chinese aircraft in Japanese airspace.

Relations between the two nations have been strained over an ongoing dispute about a group of islands in the East China Sea - known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.

The China Daily says "the well-hyped dispute over the Diaoyu Islands, which has created media frenzies in both countries, and grown tenser as a result, may be an explosive flashpoint".

"The war of rhetoric between the two countries' maritime authorities, and most recently the militaries, could take an abrupt turn into a physical one at any time," it adds.

The paper fears further escalation of tensions between China and Japan.

"Our relations with Japan had been fine for decades thanks to the political wisdom of leaders of both countries that managed to keep the territorial dispute in the background. Those days, however, are gone.

"We see no proper starting point for sensible consultation with Mr Abe, who is clearly determined to press ahead with his brinkmanship," it adds.

The Global Times says "China has not been involved in a war for a long time but a war looms following Japan's radical provocation".

"Should one drone of China be fired upon, hostility between Beijing and Tokyo will be fully activated and the situation of Northeast Asia will topple like dominoes," it adds.

'Lesson' for media

Turning to domestic news, state-run media says a "lesson" can be learnt from the arrest of Chen Yongzhou, a reporter from a Chinese newspaper who apparently admitted to accepting money to publish numerous false reports.

Guangdong-based newspaper New Express said a preliminary police investigation has found that its reporter Chen Yongzhou had accepted money to publish numerous false reports. He was arrested over claims that he defamed a partly state-owned firm in articles exposing alleged corruption.

New Express, which previously backed Mr Chen and made front-page appeals for his release, has now issued an apology.

The People's Daily says "the case is still pending, things are not yet settled, but that does not prevent us from reflecting on media responsibility and professional ethics".

"The improper practices of the newspaper seriously damaged the credibility of the media, [and should be] a profound lesson to all," says the Beijing News.

The paper further adds that "this incident has shamed, embarrassed and caused worry to the entire media".

"Mr Chen's behaviour has seriously violated journalistic professional ethics and harmed the media's credibility and the New Express should also be held responsible for dereliction of duty over the past year," The Global Times quotes the All-China Journalists Association (ACJA) as saying in a statement.

"The ACJA also urged media staff across the country to draw lessons from the case, adhere to laws and regulations, and observe journalistic professional ethics," the paper says.

And finally, Chinese media continue to condemn Washington's spying activities.

"As more and mores countries 'make it to the victims' list', US authorities fall into the international media storm brought by its spying activities", the Beijing News reports.

"Whether it is France, Germany, or any of the 28 countries in the EU, they are all currently in a difficult situation: while it is necessary to express their anger against the US eavesdropping, they also have to avoid harming their long-term strategic relationship with the US," it adds.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. For more reports from BBC Monitoring, click here. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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