China's Defense Ministry has accused Japanese jets of locking their weapons-targeting radar on its fighters over the East China Sea, an allegation denied Tuesday by a high-ranking Japanese official.

In a statement posted to the ministry's website late Monday, China rebuffed reports that emerged last week in Japanese media that a Chinese fighter had been close to firing on an Air Self-Defense Force jet that was scrambled over the East China Sea, home to the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands. The islands are also claimed by China, where they are known as Diaoyu.

The Chinese ministry said two Su-30 fighter jets were approached on June 17 by two ASDF F-15 fighters at "high speed" and that the Japanese side had "even used fire-control radars to lock on" to the Chinese jets during what it termed as "a routine patrol" over the East China Sea air defense identification zone.