December 09, 2004

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Japan is upset over another Chinese ship "researching geography" off the southern-most tip of Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone.

Tokyo has lodged a protest with Beijing against unannounced research activities being carried out by a Chinese ship in Japan's exclusive economic zone around Okinotorishima Island, the nation's southernmost territory, officials in Tokyo said Wednesday.
China has claimed the small island 1,740 km south of the mainland is merely a rock, rather than a significant piece of territory worthy of putting an EEZ around. EEZs are based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Okinotorishima Island is listed as being 4.8 km long, but most of it is submerged...The 400,000-sq.-km EEZ around the island is larger than Japan itself. To avoid losing claim to the huge area, Japan has built wave-dissipating blocks around the two visible tops of the island to prevent them from eroding.

Why the fuss? As usual, it all boils down to gas.
China last year began drilling at the gas site, which is some 450 kilometers (280 miles) west of Japan's southern Okinawa island. Japan says China has drilled three to four kilometers (two to two-and-a-half miles) beyond a line proposed by Japan separating the two nations' exclusive economic zones. Beijing has not recognised the demarcation, saying its economic rights extend almost as far as Okinawa. Japan and China are two of the world's top energy importers.

A Japanese survey in 1999 estimated the reserves at the disputed field to be at 200 billion cubic meters (seven trillion cubic feet).

A better summary of the history of the dispute can be found here. If you want to have a look at what they are fighting over, here's a picture of the beautiful Okinotorishima "Island". Does that look like an island to you? It would to me if it had a bar in the middle.

posted by Simon on 12.09.04 at 11:49 AM in the


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It's All About Gas?
Excerpt: Simon World has a nice little note ... on the Chinese efforts to find the energy they need to drive their economy (along with oil deals with some of the best loved countries in the world - Sudan and Iran). In this case, they are apparently exploring ...
Weblog: EagleSpeak
Tracked: December 9, 2004 08:19 PM


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