China's ambassador has made an extraordinary claim about Japan invading Australia after invoking World War II.
Xiao Qian issued the blunt warning at a press conference on Tuesday and said Japan had never apologised for invading Australia, suggesting that meant it might do it again.
Japan's ambassador Shingo Yamagami earlier said Australia should remain vigilant towards Beijing.
Mr Xiao fired back and said Australia need only look at history to see where the greater Asian threat lies.
"During the Second World War, Japan invaded Australia, bombed Darwin, killed Australians and treated Australian POWs in a way that was humanly unacceptable," he told reporters.
"The Japanese government has not apologised for that up to today ... they don't apologise and that means they don't accept they were wrong, and then they might repeat the history."
Mr Xiao continued to label Japan "twisted" and said he hoped Australia had a "clearer" view of China.
"There are a handful of people, a handful of political forces in that country, who are taking a twisted way of looking at history," he said.
"A twisted way of looking at China, a twisted way of looking at the relationship between China and Australia. That is not constructive, that is not helpful."
In response, Mr Yamagami said he was "baffled" and "perplexed" by the Chinese comments, stating he was "just talking common sense".
"What is at issue here is not what took place more than 80 years ago ... what is at issue is how to deal with coercion, intimidation going throughout the region," he told the ABC.
"Australia and Japan are in total sync, we are working together to uphold the rules-based order, both regionally and globally."
He maintained Beijing should match its improved words towards Australia with actions before being taken seriously.
"It's a good step forward to start our dialogue again, between Australia, China, between Japan and China, but that said, what is going to be talked about in that dialogue?" Mr Yamagami said.
"We place significant emphasis on the importance of maintaining rules-based regional and international order. If that offends my Chinese counterpart, what can I say?"