by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Feb 20, 2012
Japanese coastguards were ordered by a Chinese ship to stop a marine survey in disputed waters at the weekend, officials said Monday, the latest territorial row between the regional giants.
The Japanese ship was conducting Sunday a two-day survey in waters about 170 kilometres (105 miles) north of Kumejima, part of Japan's southernmost Okinawa prefecture, when Chinese authorities demanded they stop, the coastguard said.
Beijing and Tokyo claim exclusive excavation rights of the Shirakaba or Chunxiao gas field which lies in the disputed area in the East China Sea, where both sides' economic zones overlap.
The Chinese ship "demanded our ship by radio to stop the marine survey aimed at drawing nautical charts," a coastguard spokesman said. "We replied to them that this was a legitimate activity as we were in Japan's exclusive economic zone and we have been continuing the survey up until now."
The Chinese ship has been shadowing the Japanese vessel since the survey began on Sunday, he added.
Japan's foreign ministry on Sunday told its Chinese counterpart the demand was "unacceptable", a ministry official told AFP.
Similar incidents occurred in May and September 2010, when China demanded Japan stop marine surveys in the region, Japanese officials said.
Beijing and Tokyo also have a long-standing dispute over an uninhabited but strategically coveted island chain known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese, which lies between Japan and Taiwan in the East China Sea.
A Japanese government-backed report earlier this month warned that Beijing's assertiveness in the South China Sea could soon be replicated in neighbouring waters, adding to growing regional fears about China's territorial aspirations.
Beijing and Tokyo came to diplomatic blows in 2010 when a Chinese trawler collided with Japanese coastguards, sparking the captain's arrest and detention.
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Surface woes blamed for fracking flaws: study
Vancouver (AFP) Feb 16, 2012
Environmental contamination from operations to remove gas from deep within the Earth, known as hydraulic fracturing, often happens close to surface and not far below, said a US study released Thursday. Spills at the drill site or problems with cement casing around upper well bores were examples of incidents that have led to shallow groundwater contamination in the United States, said the stu ... read more
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