China returns criticism from Tokyo over regional tensions, labels Japan 'trouble maker'

China is firing back after criticism from Tokyo over a rise in tensions, labeling Japan a "trouble maker" that is damaging regional peace and stability.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying was responding Tuesday to comments by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida In an interview with The Associated Press that China's military expansion in the region is a concern, although Kishida stopped short of calling China a threat.

Hua told a regularly scheduled news conference that China's military posture was purely defensive and said Japan was stirring up trouble with its own moves to expand its armed forces and alter its pacifist constitution. She said recent statements by Japanese officials were attempts to deny or glorify the country's militarist past, and Japan should explain the strategic intention behind its moves.