Published time: July 18, 2013 16:50                                                                            

An aerial view shows a Chinese facility under construction (top R) for natural gas exploration and a large crane ship are seen near what Tokyo claims to be the median line between the overlapping exclusive economic zones of Japan and China, in the East China Sea, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 5, 2013. (Reuters/Kyodo)An aerial view shows a Chinese facility under construction (top R) for natural gas exploration and a large crane ship are seen near what Tokyo claims to be the median line between the overlapping exclusive economic zones of Japan and China, in the East China Sea, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 5, 2013. (Reuters/Kyodo)

Japan has allegedly ordered geological survey ships to prepare for possible deployment after the Chinese were reportedly detected drilling in Japanese waters near the disputed area of the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, a source told Reuters.

The Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) has  been ordered to put both its survey ships , the Shigen and the  Hakurei, on standby and to prepare to deploy without any foreign  members of staff on board, according to the source .

Japan warned China not to expand gas exploration in the East  China Sea on Thursday, following a media report according to  which Chinese state-run oil companies plan to develop seven new  gas fields in the sea, possibly siphoning gas from the seabed  beneath waters claimed by Japan, Kyodo news agency reported.

“We will never accept development of gas fields in the area  over which there are conflicting claims in a unilateral  manner,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a  press conference. Though he added that officials are still  gathering information to confirm the report.

After in 1968 it was discovered that oil reserves might be found  under the sea near the territory of the islands in the East China  Sea, sovereignty over them has been long disputed by  Japan  and China.

Meanwhile, three Chinese maritime vessels were spotted entering  Japan’s territorial waters on Thursday morning, the Japanese  Coast Guard reported. Beijing said was a routine surveillance and  the ships later left the Japanese waters, but remain in the  contiguous area, the coast guard added.

This particular intrusion came the day after Prime Minister  Shinzo Abe paid a visit to Japan’s southern island of Ishigaki,  only 160 km away from the islets claimed by both China and Japan.

A Japan Coast Guard patrol ship sails around Uotsuri island, part of the disputed islands in the East China Sea, known as the Senkaku isles in Japan, Diaoyu islands in China (Reuters/Kyodo)A Japan Coast Guard patrol ship sails around Uotsuri island, part of the disputed islands in the East China Sea, known as the Senkaku isles in Japan, Diaoyu islands in China (Reuters/Kyodo)

 

During the visit, the Prime Minister repeated Tokyo’s stand that  the nearby disputed Senkaku Islands are Japanese  territory.  He added that Japan will not back off on  the issue of their sovereignty over the territory which China  calls the Diaoyu Islands claiming they were“stolen” from  the country at the end of the Sino-Japanese war in 1895.

It is rare for a prime minister to visit Ishigaki, and “it is  a strong message for China”, Japan’s Asahi Television said.

Abe’s statement followed a strong reaction in the Chinese media  which accused the Japanese Prime Minister on Thursday of  dangerous politics in the period of heightened relations between  the two countries.

The People’s Liberation Army Daily said Abe was trying to play  the “China threat” angle, to win votes in July 21 upper  house of parliament elections by paying the visit to the island.

“This kind of ‘drinking poison to slake ones thirst’ not only  threatens regional stability, it gives encouragement to Japan’s  ‘turn to the right’,” said the Daily.

The ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily warned that  China would never allow itself to be trampled on again, referring  to the 1931 Japan invasion and the establishment of a  Manchukuo  puppet state located in what is now  northeast China.

The newspaper claimed that the prime minister is “provoking  incidents” aimed to create tension to “push Japan’s  military development.”

Surveillance ships from both nations routinely monitor the  disputed area. The last time that Chinese ships were spotted  there was July 7.

In response to the island dispute and the growing nuclear threat  from the Korean Peninsula, Tokyo has raised its defense budget  for the first time in 11 years. Moreover, Abe wants to revise  Japan’s constitution drafted by the United States after World War  Two to allow for collective military action. If the Prime  Minister’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) obtains the majority of  votes it will be a step closer to pushing through the amendment.

http://rt.com/news/japan-china-disputed-islands-271/