Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi before their meeting in Beijing on Friday night.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi before their meeting in Beijing on Friday night.

The Chinese government has delivered a fresh rebuke to foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop, warning that Australia's position on the East China Sea had “jeopardised” bilateral relations.

In a cold welcome to Ms Bishop on her first visit to Beijing as foreign minister, her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi said China was “deeply dissatisfied” with Australia’s public criticism of its decision to establish an air defence zone in an area which covers islands in the East China Sea that are the subject of a long-standing territorial dispute between Japan and China.

"I have to point out that what Australia has said and done with regard to China's establishment of the air defence identification zone in the East China Sea has jeopardised bilateral mutual trust and affected the sound growth of bilateral relations,” Mr Wang said. “This is not what we desire to see.”

The remarks were made in front of assembled reporters before a formal meeting on Friday night, in introductory comments usually reserved for polite greetings and exchanges of pleasantries.

As she did when the diplomatic stoush first flared last week, Ms Bishop held her ground and said the government’s standpoint reflected the importance with which it viewed stability in the region.

"I must take issue with you on the matter of the East China Sea. We stand by our view,” she said, before attendants ushered reporters out of the room as formal talks began.

In a subsequent statement provided to reporters, the foreign minister said she told Mr Wang that Australia took “no position on the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, but we take decisions in our national interest.”

“We urge that there be no unilateral actions, nor coercive actions, but that both sides act in accordance with international law,” she said.

“We respect China's right to speak out on issues that affect China, just as we hope you will respect our right to speak out on actions that affect a region of critical security importance to Australia.”

China last month unilaterally established an air defence zone over a sensitive area of airspace over the East China Sea, which covers a group of uninhabited islands at the heart of a bitter territorial dispute, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

China has threatened to use military force to enforce the zone, contributing to heightened tensions in the area as other regional powers including the United States, Japan and Korea ignore China's demands and continue to fly military aircraft through the zone without informing Chinese authorities.

It came just days after Ms Bishop signed a communique with the US opposing ''unilateral or coercive change in the status quo'' in the East China Sea. It also follows a trilateral agreement signed with the US and Japan in October.

The Coalition government has refused to take a backward step despite the deepening diplomatic spat with Beijing, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott declaring last week that ''China trades with us because it is in China's interest to trade with us''.

An escalating series of diplomatic gestures by both sides have strained relations since last week after Australia called in China's ambassador on Monday to demand an explanation over the air defence zone.

Ms Bishop defended the government's position on Thursday, arguing that Australia has a key stake in the region and therefore opposes ''action by any side that we believe could add to the tensions or add to the risk of a miscalculation in disputed territorial zones in the region''.

The diplomatic spat over China’s air defence zone has come at a period of already tense relations, after the Abbott government reaffirmed a ban on Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei from bidding on National Broadband Network contracts.

Australian intelligence and security agencies are also investigating suspected Chinese involvement in an industrial espionage case at the nation’s top scientific organisation, the CSIRO.

Ms Bishop had arrived in Beijing from Jakarta, fresh from dealing with another tense diplomatic situation Australia's spying on Indonesia.

She also met with vice-president Li Yuanchao and the head of the ruling Communist Party’s International Department, Wang Jiarui, on Friday.