China says Japan's release of rig photos escalates tension

According to Beijing publication of images showing Chinese activities on East China Sea escalates tension with Japan

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Japan revealed a map and aerial images of 12 Chinese constructions on Wednesday to prove China’s unilateral gas field development near the median line between two countries’ shorelines in the East China Sea.

The photos and the map have been available on the Foreign Ministry’s website, chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga told Kyoto Report. 

The disclosure came a day after the approval of the defense annual white paper by the Japanese cabinet in which Japan demanded China to halt the construction of a new offshore platform, on suspicion of Chinese drills may extend the works into its territory.

“It is extremely regrettable that China should conduct unilateral development of resources,” Suga told reporters in Tokyo on Wednesday. 

Suga also pointed out that 12 Chinese constructions have been confirmed in the East China Sea since 2013 but Japan decided to release photos on Wednesday in order to raise Chinese interest in the region.  

According to Jeff Kingston, professor of Asian Studies at Temple University in Tokyo, the decision to publish the images  includes political manner of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to convince voters for vitality of the security legislation. 

“They’re very concerned that the public has not warmed to his idea,” Kingston said to Bloomberg.

“What they’re trying to do is generate public anxiety so that people will suddenly discover that we do need to adopt this legislation.” He added.  

Following the publication of the photos, China's Foreign Ministry made a comment on the issue late on Wednesday saying that it will just provoke confrontation between the two countries and hinder the developing dialog.

"What Japan did provokes confrontation between the two countries, and is not constructive at all to the management of the East China Sea situation and the improvement of bilateral relations," the Ministry said.

In 2013 Japan and China signed an agreement to jointly develop undersea resources in disputed waters after Japan's government voiced its annoyance against Beijing for purchasing an island chain in the East China Sea in 2012.

Tokyo blamed Beijing for the violation of the pact although China claimed that its position remained unchanged based on the pact and it was the side of the dialog between the two countries. 

"The key is for Japan to create favourable environment and conditions to implement this consensus,"  the Ministry said referring the 2013 agreement.

"Japan's hyping up of the oil and gas issue in the East China Sea will do nothing good to carry out dialogue and cooperation between China and Japan on the East China Sea-related issues," it added. 

China also underlined that the construction work on the water is limited to its side of a median line, adding that its exploration is “justified, reasonable and legitimate.”

TRTWorld and agencies