Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, took a dig Wednesday at regional rival China in one of the highest-profile speeches made since he took office in 2012.
Abe used a speech to political and economic leaders at the 2014 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to reaffirm Japan's commitment to peace - but also said that "freedom, human rights and democracy must be assured in Asia."
China is a one-party state whose human rights record is often questioned. Abe added that leaders in the Asia region should be honest about their military spending, a clear line drawn in the sand for Japan.
In the speech, which was also one of his first major pronouncements delivered in English, Abe also referred to the Sino-Japanese dispute involving China setting up an air defense zone in the East China Sea covering some islands claimed by Japan, and said that "international sea law" must be respected.
(Read more: Why investors should be wary of China-Japan tensions)