China is calling Japan’s photos of Chinese construction near disputed waters a “provocation.” In 2008, China and Japan agreed to jointly develop natural resources in a disputed part of the East China Sea. Now, however, the countries are still bickering over development rights.
The Chinese appear to be planning to tap into an oil field that straddles the disputed waters.
“While the objects may be on the Chinese side of the dividing line, for China to unilaterally develop the natural resources there is extremely regrettable,” Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga, said.
The Japanese government released photographs of the developing project to expose what they consider to be Chinese aggression.
“We decided to disclose what we can show, as there’s been increasing interest home and abroad over China’s unilateral efforts to change the status quo,” Suga elaborated.
In the same news conference, Suga claimed that Japan has known about this project since 2013, but that the pace of development has seriously increased. Of the 12 structures on the Chinese side of the line, five were built in the last year alone.
In their responses, Chinese officials have not minced words.
“What Japan did provokes confrontation between the two countries, and is not constructive at all to the management of the East China Sea situation and the improvement of bilateral relations,” an official statement from the Chinese foreign ministry said.
“Japan’s hyping up of the oil and gas issue in the East China Sea will do nothing good to carry out dialogue and cooperation between China and Japan on the East China Sea-related issues,” the statement added.
Recently, China-Japan relations have been severely worsening.
Japan has been very ardent about condemning Chinese construction projects throughout the Pacific. They view most of these projects as a means China is using to the end of expanding their military might and reach throughout the region.
“China, particularly over maritime issues, continues to act in an assertive manner, including coercive attempts at changing the status quo, and is poised to fulfill its unilateral demands without compromise,” a Japanese government defense report said earlier this week.
Likewise, Chinese defense experts are worried about new security laws in Japan, and changes to make Japan less pacifistic and her military stronger.
In addition, deeper, historical roots, dating back mostly to the Second World War, drive a wedge of enmity between the two peoples.