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China 'Clarifies' Agreement with Japan

  • Stephanie Ho

China says Japanese companies participating in a joint gas exploration deal in the East China Sea will be subject to Chinese law. China also says it has not given up its legal claims to disputed territory in the East China Sea. Stephanie Ho in Beijing has more on the story.

Less than 24 hours after a China-Japan deal was announced, China made great efforts to stress the accord is not considered a formal joint-development agreement.

Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei told reporters in Beijing the difference in this case is that the two governments are not taking the lead in cooperation to develop the Chunxiao oil and gas field.

He says enterprises will play a major role and governments will only give some guidance.

Wu says Chinese-Japanese cooperation in the Chunxiao oil and gas field will follow Chinese law and that both sides recognize China's sovereignty over the field.

China and Japan have conflicting claims over a nearby island chain in the East China Sea. The Chinese call them the Diaoyu Islands, while the Japanese know them as the Senkaku.

Wu says, for the deal to have been reached, both sides have pretty much shelved, for now, differences of sovereignty and sovereign rights.

The agreement announced Wednesday allows Japanese companies to invest in and claim proportional profits from several projects from the Chunxiao gas field, which Japan calls Shirakaba.

Japanese officials say they expect long and difficult negotiations before joint exploration can start. The agreement did not set a specific timeline.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry's tough talk Thursday reflects some of the Chinese public's continuing antipathy toward Japan.

A small group of protesters called for Tokyo to "clear out" of the East China Sea, in a brief demonstration Wednesday in front of the Japanese embassy in Beijing.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated development, a Japanese military destroyer is to make a visit Tuesday to southern China's Zhanjiang port.

The missile destroyer will be the first Japanese warship to make an appearance in a Chinese harbor since the end of World War II, when the two countries were bitter enemies.

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