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9

China To Call Japan Provocative

China calls Japan's gas hunt in EEZ 'provocative'

China demanded Thursday that Japan stop its exploration for natural gas in a disputed area of the East China Sea.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi summoned Japan's ambassador and delivered an official protest after exploration began Wednesday northwest of Okinawa Island, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

"China urges the Japanese side to . . . immediately stop the act that infringed upon China's interests and sovereignty," Xinhua paraphrased Wang as telling Ambassador Koreshige Anami.

The U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea allows coastal countries an economic zone extending 200 nautical miles (370 km) from their shores.

But Beijing and Tokyo, both of which signed the convention in 1996, have not agreed where their sea border lies. The U.N. says it will decide on global offshore territorial claims by May 2009.

Wang told Anami that "China cannot tolerate Japan's move imposed upon others and firmly opposes the dangerous provocative act," Xinhua reported. Wang called on Japan to negotiate a settlement instead of acting unilaterally, the report said.