View Full Version : China's Warships Violate Japanese Waters

10-02-2005, 12:34 AM
Japan upset over Chinese warships near disputed area



Oct 2, 3:23 AM (ET)

By Masayuki Kitano

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Trade Minister Shoichi Nakagawa criticized China on Sunday for sending warships near disputed gas fields in the East China Sea, after a media report said a Chinese ship had pointed a gun at a Japanese patrol plane.

The row over China's development of gas fields in the sea dividing the two countries -- and near waters which Japan claims -- is one of several issues that have strained ties between the Asian neighbors.

Japan and China failed to resolve the dispute in two days of talks in Tokyo that ended on Saturday, but agreed to meet again this month in Beijing and to discuss a new Japanese proposal that includes the possibility of joint development.

"Five state-of-the-art warships equipped with missiles came (to the area) on September 9," Nakagawa told the private TV Asahi.

"This ... violates what Prime Minister (Junichiro) Koizumi and (Chinese President) Mr. Hu Jintao have confirmed, that this is a sea of cooperation, a sea of peace," he said of the navy vessels, which China has said were conducting normal training.

Appearing on another TV network, Nakagawa sounded a cautious note on the outlook for the next round of talks.

"They (China) said they would take it (Japan's proposal) back in order to consider it earnestly. I hope this isn't about just trying to buy time," he said on Fuji Television.

Nakagawa said Japan was open to ministerial talks to resolve the deadlock, Kyodo news agency reported.


His comments came after Kyodo reported that a Chinese missile frigate had pointed a gun turret at a Japanese navy P3-C surveillance aircraft on September 9 near the Chunxiao gas field, one of the fields in the area being developed by China.

The Chinese vessel "probably did not intend to shoot, but it is a clear threat and rash conduct," Kyodo quoted a senior Defense Ministry official as saying.

The missile frigate and four other Chinese military ships that were spotted by the P3-C did not however enter waters claimed by Japan as its own exclusive economic zone, Kyodo said.

Defense Ministry officials were not available to comment.

Nakagawa said Japan would make efforts to ensure safety but use restraint if it decides to proceed with its own test-drilling in the area.

"We ... won't take provocative steps such as sending submarines or missile-equipped destroyers ... Japan won't do such senseless, unfriendly things," he said on TV Asahi.

"We will make efforts so that China won't come. We will appeal to the international community," Nakagawa said.

He said on TV Asahi that Japan had not decided whether to conduct test-drilling, adding it may take anywhere from around a year to two years to start drilling after a decision is made due to the need for coordination with local residents and others.

Japan fears that China's development of gas fields located near what Japan claims is the median line that separates the exclusive economic zones of the two counties could tap into resources lying beneath the waters which Japan claims.

China does not recognize the midway line and has rejected Japanese demands to halt its development work, saying its projects are taking place in undisputed coastal waters.