China Reoffers Joint Oil Deal to Japan

China Reoffers Joint Oil Deal to JapanChina Reoffers Joint Oil Deal to Japan

China repeated a call Friday for talks with Japan over joint development of gas and oil resources in contested waters in the East China Sea.

The offer comes days after Japan disclosed a map and photographs of what it said were 16 Chinese marine platforms close to Japan’s side of a geographical median line that it contends should mark the border between their exclusive economic zones, Bloomberg reported.

China said it was justified to conduct oil and gas exploration in its exclusive economic zone, the foreign ministry said on its website, claiming it has been developing the same areas since the 1970s and Japan has only raised objections in recent years.

Japan has long expressed concern that the rigs could siphon gas out of undersea structures that extend to its own side.

Japan’s lower house of parliament last week passed security bills to extend the role of Japan’s military to allow it to defend other countries—a move China said risked unsettling regional security.

The two countries should start joint development of resources with the precondition that activities won’t violate laws of the two countries, the foreign ministry said.

 While the two nations agreed in 2008 to jointly develop gas fields near the contested waters and held their first official talks in 2010, discussions soon broke down amid a dispute over the sovereignty of the East China Sea islands.

The East China Sea has about 200 million barrels of oil and as much as 2 trillion cubic feet of gas in proved and probable reserves, according to estimates on the US Energy Information Administration.

“The unresolved territorial and maritime claims and limited evidence of hydrocarbon reserves make it unlikely that the region will become a major new source of hydrocarbon production,” the EIA said.