China, Japan tensions flare over natural gas

Updated On: Jan 19, 2010

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and his Japanese countepart Katsuya Okada met Sunday to further promote China-Japan relations, but what made headlines was a spat over disputed boundary claims in the East China Sea.

In his talks with Yang, the Japanese foreign minister said that Tokyo would take "action" if China violated a 2008 agreement over developing natural gas fields in the East China Sea.

In the 2008 agreement, China and Japan said (after years of negotiations) they would share the potentially valuable gas resources.

But Japan has reportedly observed that China has built a drilling plant in the area and appears ready to start pumping. This prompted the comment from the Japanese foreign minister.

On Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Chaoxu said that China would firmly uphold its due rights in the East China Sea. He pointed out that according to the principled common understanding reached between the two countries, the Japanese side could participate in the cooperative development, but that the cooperative development is different from "joint development".

Both sides agreed to continue to discuss the issue.



Reuters, “Japan threatens action on China gas project: report,” January 17, 2010, http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE60G06220100117

Xinhua, “Chinese, Japanese FMs meet on further advancement of bilateral ties,” January 17, 2010, http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2010-01/17/content_12825623.htm

Xinhua, “China upholds due rights in East China Sea: FM Spokesman,” January 19, 2010, http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2010-01/19/c_13141492.htm

Agence France Presse, “Japan vows ‘action’ if China violates gas field,” January 17, 2010,

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