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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 June 18 - 24  > Japan and China agree on joint gas development
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2008 June 18 - 24 [WORLD]

Japan and China agree on joint gas development

June 19, 2008
Japan and China on June 18 agreed on a plan to jointly develop gas fields in the East China Sea. Ending a four-year negotiation that began in October 2004, the two countries will now begin talks aimed at concluding a treaty.

Under the agreement, Japan will invest in the Chinese entity that has already begun to develop the “Shirakaba” gas field (Chunxiao in Chinese), which is located near the boundary of the two countries’ exclusive economic zones (EEZ).

The agreement also includes the establishment of a joint development zone south of the Asunaro gas field (Longjing in Chinese) located on the EEZ boundary claimed by Japan.

They will continue negotiations on two more oil fields located near the boundary, Kusunoki (Duanqiao) and Kashi (Tianwaitian).

The two countries shelved the issue of the disputed boundary of their EEZ zones.

They reached the agreement without undermining their respective sovereign rights to the sea.

China has developed gas fields located on its side of the EEZ boundary claimed by Japan. Since some of such fields are only a few kilometers away from the line, Japan has researched the seabed in the area, arguing that China could exploit underground resources of the Japanese side. It has also given domestic oil-related companies the right to drill in the seabed.

On the other hand, China has claimed that its EEZ runs to the Okinawa Trough because it is on the edge of China’s continental shelf. While proposing a joint development on gas fields in Japanese waters, it has refused to develop gas fields with Japan located on its side of the boundary. The latest agreement was made possible by the two countries changing their respective positions.
- Akahata, June 19, 2008
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