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FM: Japan's sea drilling plan 'a serious provocation'
Updated: 2005-04-14 07:41

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang said in Beijing Wednesday that Japan has come up with a serious provocation to China's rights by granting Japanese firms the right to drill for gas and oil in East China Sea.

Qin Gang invites questions from reporters at a regular press conference in Beijing in this picture taken on April 7, 2005. [newsphoto]

In response to a question from local press, Qin said China has already lodged protest on this issue to the Japanese side and will retain the right to make further reaction.

The Japanese government Wednesday initiated procedures to grant Japanese firms the right to conduct test drilling for potential gas and oil fields to the east of the so called "demarcation line" in the East China Sea.

Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has asked relevant authorities to review applications from companies which want to explore the fields, the Kyodo news agency reported Wednesday.

Qin said the move by the Japanese side is a serious provocation to the rights of China and the norm of international relations.

Qin said there are disputes between China and Japan on the demarcation of the continental shelf of East China Sea. He said China has always insisted that the two sides should resolve the issue through diplomatic negotiation.

But, Qin said, the Japanese side has turned a deaf ear to the righteous proposition of China and attempted to impose its unilaterally-conceived "demarcation line" on the Chinese side.

"China has never ever recognized and will never recognize this (the "demarcation line")," Qin said.

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