07/23/2015, 00.00
JAPAN - CHINA
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East China Sea: Tokyo publishes photos of Chinese platforms in disputed waters

The photos show 14 structures with heliports and two jetties. Japanese officials fear Beijing might use them for military purposes. The structures were built in an area of disputed maritime boundaries between two nations.

Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Japan yesterday posted 14 photos of Chinese offshore platforms on the foreign ministry’s website to protest China's “deplorable unilateral development” of natural gas fields in the East China Sea.

The photos show 14 platforms and 2 jetties. Most of the platforms are equipped with heliports and some emit flames, apparently from burning gas.

The platforms have appeared despite a June 2008 agreement in which the two countries said they would jointly develop the area in the wake of friction over who had the rights to exploit the resources.

Some Japanese officials have warned China might use some of the platforms for military purposes, to monitor activities of Japan's army and US forces in the East China Sea.

China is embroiled in a row with Japan over the Tokyo-controlled Senkaku islands – which Beijing calls the Diaoyu – as Chinese ships and aircraft regularly test Japanese forces in the area.

“Japan has repeatedly lodged protests against China’s unilateral development,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga. “However, China has been negative on resuming talks over implementing the June 2008 agreement, even though its activities appear to be continuing.”

The development agreement concerns an area where the two countries' claimed exclusive economic zones (EEZ) overlap.

“The Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the continental shelf in the East China Sea has not yet been delimited,” the Japanese government wrote on its Foreign Ministry website,“ and Japan takes a position that maritime delimitation should be conducted based on the geographical equidistance line between Japan and China”.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said, “China's oil and gas exploration in undisputed waters of the East China Sea under China's jurisdiction is justified, reasonable and legitimate.”

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