The ruling Liberal Democratic Party will be submitting to the Japanese government a set of proposals to take a firm stand against China’s exploration for natural gas in the contested waters in the East China Sea. There are fears that eventually their exploration could extend to the Japanese side of the exclusive economic zones.
A LDP panel, which will be led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, will finalize the proposals before turning it over to the government. Part of it is demanding that China remove the construction materials for the new facility they are building in the area. While it is still located in the China side of the border, the undersea gas field in the area could actually extend to the Japanese side. The bilateral talks over developing this area has stalled, but China chose to explore it on their own, without properly informing the Japanese government. Tokyo already filed a protest to Beijing when the construction started early July, but their protest was rejected.
There are also reports that state-run Chinese companies will be applying for permission to develop seven more gas fields in the water. Part of the LDP proposal is to ask Beijing to not approve any projects that will be done in the waters where the two countries’ claims are still overlapping. The LDP also wants both countries to enter into talks immediately to discuss on the developments that are not covered by the 2008 bilateral agreement. The agreement states that the area is to be jointly developed by the two countries with China to give approval to future investments by Japanese companies in the Chinese projects. However, the details and investment terms of that agreement have not yet been finalized as the talks stalled even before the whole territorial dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. The LDP’s stand is that the East China Sea must be “an ocean of peace, cooperation and friendship” between Japan and China.
[ via Mainichi ]