Japanese PM Shinzo Abe highlights testy ties with China as he starts US visit

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says China has what he described as a deeply ingrained need to spar with Japan and other Asian neighbours over territory.

In an interview with the Washington Post, he said this is because China's ruling Communist Party uses the disputes to maintain strong domestic support.

Mr Abe spoke about China in what aides described as unusually detailed terms.

He laid out challenges that Chinese leaders might face if other Asian countries, unnerved by Beijing's maritime expansionism, decide to reduce trade and other economic ties.

Mr Abe also laid out his plans for deterrence.

This includes boosting military spending and strengthening ties with Southeast Asian countries that share concerns about Beijing.

Tensions between the two countries have been on the rise.

This, since the Japanese government infuriated China over its purchase of disputed islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, from a private Japanese owner last year.