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BEIJING -- China says the U.S. has "undeniable historical responsibility" in Beijing's continuing dispute with Japan over ownership of islands in the East China Sea.

Spokesman Hong Lei's comments Monday marked the second straight day in which Beijing has apportioned some blame for Washington in the dispute.

Washington acknowledges that disputed East China Sea islands are under Japanese administration but doesn't take a position over who owns them.

Hong says that stance "ignores facts" and confuses right and wrong.

China claims sovereignty over the islands, known in Chinese as Diaoyu and Japanese as Senkaku. They were under U.S. control between 1945 and 1972, when they were returned to Japan, which originally annexed them in 1895.

Tensions between Beijing and Tokyo soared after Japan's government bought the islands from private owners in September.