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"Provocative" Japanese drilling condemned
By Hu Xiao and Cao Desheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-07-16 07:10

China on Friday expressed "strong protest" against Tokyo's approval of a Japanese oil and gas company's request to test-drill in the East China Sea, branding the move a "severe provocation and violation".

China National Offshore Oil Corporation's (CNOOC) oil rigs in China's Bohai Sea is seen in this photograph taken July 7, 2004. [newsphoto/file]
According to China, the approval is also in breach of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Cui Tiankai, director of the Foreign Ministry's Asian Department, summoned Chihiro Atsumi, minister of the Japanese Embassy in China, to lodge the protest.

He requested the Japanese side correct its decision and stop any actions that impair China's sovereign rights and interests.

The Japanese Government granted the Teikoku Oil Co concessions to conduct experimental drilling in the East China Sea, Shoichi Nakagawa, Japanese economy, trade and industry minister, said on Thursday.

Cui said China and Japan have not settled issues in the East China Sea as they dispute demarcation in the area.

It is untenable for Japan, based on its unilateral position on the so-called "middle line", to grant test drilling rights to Japanese firms in the disputed sea area, he said.
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