China tells Japan to back off, says it has right to drill in disputed waters

Photo Credit: BBC/Yahoo News

Responding to Tokyo’s position paper calling it the No. 1 security risk and urging it to stop its drilling in a disputed area in the East China Sea, Beijing said it will continue such operations since it does not recognize the de facto maritime border separating the two countries, GMA News reported.

China and Japan have not yet delineated the maritime boundaries in the East China Sea, and China does not recognize the Japanese side’s unilateral marking out of a so-called ‘median line’,” said China’s Foreign Ministry.

Japan released pictures earlier this week showing what appeared to be deep-sea oil apparently owned by China in the disputed waters claimed by both countries.

It called on Beijing to immediately cease operations, saying the move was arbitrary and revealed China’s intent to betray the two countries’ 2008 accord to jointly explore and develop the area.

Tokyo also feared the oil rigs could extend its operations into territories owned by Japan.

In turn, the Foreign Ministry has insisted on the “appropriateness and legality” of China’s operations.

Chin and Japan have been engaged in a cat-and-mouse-game in the East China Sea for years, with patrol ships from both countries regularly tailing each other.

China is currently locked in a dispute with several of its Asian neighbors over two vital regional areas; with Taiwan and Japan over the uninhabited Senkaku Islands; with Taiwan, the Philippines, and several other Southeast Asian countries over the West Philippine Sea which is rich in natural resources and is one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.

China’s neighbors are wary of the former’s growing assertiveness and have accused Beijing of expansionism.

In particular, it has been blasted for building several man-made artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea which its rival claimants say could house permanent military bases in the future — a charge which China denies.