In the East China Sea, China Crosses a Line

Nov 7, 2016 | 09:30 GMT
In the East China Sea, China Crosses a Line
Chinese fishing boats set sail from Ningbo. A recent uptick in Chinese drilling activity in the East China Sea has caused tensions to flare between Beijing and Tokyo.
(VCG/Getty Images)

After years on pause, China's exploration for natural gas deposits beneath the East China Sea has begun to ramp back up, and that is starting to make Japan nervous. On Nov. 1, Tokyo lodged a diplomatic complaint against Beijing after it discovered a Chinese drillship moored and operating near several natural gas fields in the disputed waters. The move is just the latest in a series of protests by Japanese officials, who throughout October have claimed that sightings of natural gas flares indicate the construction of as many as 12 new Chinese drilling platforms in the East China Sea, in addition to the four already installed there prior to 2005. If Japan's suspicions are verified, China's activities could put strain on the provisional agreement Tokyo and Beijing reached in early September to resume talks on jointly developing the East China Sea's energy resources....

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