Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi answered questions concerning the East China Sea issue yesterday:
Q: What benefits does China get from the agreement with Japan on the East China Sea issue?
A: Foreign Ministry has repeatedly clarified the Chinese position on the issue. I want to once again emphasize that China and Japan have, in keeping with the common understanding reached by leaders of the two countries, reached a principled consensus on the East China Sea issue through consultations. This is an important step toward making the East China Sea a "sea of peace, cooperation and friendship". It is a win-win result and conforms to the fundamental interests of the two countries as well as the two peoples.
Q: What are China's comments on a senior Japanese official's recent remark that Japan did not acknowledge China's sovereign rights on the Chunxiao oil and gas field?
A: I want to note two points: first, there is no doubt that the sovereign rights of the Chunxiao field belong to China. Secondly, both China and Japan agreed that the Japanese enterprises would participate in the development of Chunxiao field in accordance with the relevant laws of China governing cooperation with foreign enterprises in the exploration and exploitation of offshore petroleum resources. The development of the Chunxiao field must be conducted in accordance with the Chinese law, a move that itself has indicated that the sovereign rights of the Chunxiao field belong to China.
Q: Why does China agree to have Japanese companies join in the development in the Chunxiao oil and gas field?
A: To accept foreign investment in the international cooperative development of offshore oil and gas resources is a common practice in line with the Chinese law and international customs. The Chinese oil companies concerned once cooperated with Unocal and Shell in the Chunxiao field.
This time Chinese enterprises agreed to have Japanese enterprises join in the external cooperation of China's Chunxiao field in accordance with the Chinese law. This has exactly the same nature as the participation of Unocal and Shell in the past cooperative development in the Chunxiao field, and does not have any special implication.
Therefore, I would stress that the cooperative development is governed by the Chinese law and is dominated by Chinese enterprises.
Q: Some Japanese officials have said whether the development in the Chunxiao oil and gas field is a joint one depends on how the term, joint development, is defined, and whether it is called so does not matter. What's the Chinese side's comment?
A: Joint development and cooperative development are two things with totally different natures. Joint development is an interim arrangement and it is not subject to the law of either country concerned. What Chinese and Japanese enterprises will conduct in the Chunxiao field is cooperative development, which will be subject to the Chinese law.
Q: How do you view some Japanese remarks that China and Japan would conduct joint development in the northern part of the East China Sea on the bases of the "median line"?
A: As to the demarcation of the East China Sea, China has never recognized and will not ever recognize Japan's so-called "median line" in the future. China holds to delimit the East China Sea on the principle of the natural extension of its continental shelf. The final demarcation of the East China Sea will be set through the negotiation between the two countries.
Q: What repercussions will the agreements between China and Japan on the East China Sea issue have on the marine rights and interests of the two countries?
A: The principled consensus reached between China and Japan on cooperative development is an interim measure and a temporary arrangement. The Chinese side's sovereign rights and interests and jurisdiction in East China Sea are not affected.