Beijing accused Tokyo on Thursday of worsening strains in bilateral relations by announcing Tuesday that a Chinese warship locked its weapons-targeting radar on a Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer in the East China Sea on Jan. 30.

"Recently, Japan has been hyping crisis and deliberately creating tension to smear China's image," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a press conference.

Earlier Thursday, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera criticized China's use of fire-control radar on the MSDF vessel, saying such action could represent a threat of military force under the U.N. Charter. It was also reported earlier that another Chinese warship engaged its target-lock radar on an MSDF helicopter on Jan. 19.