Japan's top naval officer is open to resuming engagement with China's navy despite strong concerns about Chinese activities near disputed islands in the East China Sea.

Adm. Tomohisa Takei said that personnel exchanges and port visits between Japan's maritime self-defense force and China's navy were suspended several years ago and should be restarted to improve relations.

Takei told a Washington think tank Monday, "Our door is open."

He expressed concern that China was expanding its area of operations near the disputed islands administered by Japan. He described the situation as "dangerous" and said China's activities at sea and in the air risked provoking a crisis.

Japan scrambled at least one fighter jet after Chinese warplanes passed east of the islands on Sunday on what Chinese media called a routine exercise.