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China, Russia plan joint sea drills


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Another row could be brewing between China and Japan, this time over a disputed gas field. On Wednesday Japan's chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga expressed serious concern over the building of a drilling rig by China, near an offshore gas field claimed by both countries in the East China Sea. China's unilateral development of the field, he said, was something his nation could not accept. At China's Foreign Ministry, spokeswoman Hua Chunying has dismissed the complaint: In 2008 the two countries agreed on joint development of resources in the area. Co-operation, however, has since broken down amid a worsening row over a group of islands to the south; under Japanese administration, but claimed by both countries. The disputed islands are known as the Diaoyu to China and the Senkaku to Japan. Last September the Japanese government bought three of them from private ownership, prompting angry street demonstrations in China and even warnings of war in Chinese media. Since Japan's purchase of the islands China has been sending regular patrols to their waters, in spite of warnings from experts that face-offs with the Japanese coastguard could escalate into conflict. China says the confrontations are Japan's fault, and would not be happening had Japan not broken a decades-old agreement. In response to such claims, critics point to what they say has become a well-worn tactic used by China in territorial disputes, in which it uses an action by an opponent as an excuse to push hard and shift the ground in its favor. China's new maritime patrols, they say, have ended Japan's control of the disputed islands. Likewise, the new rig is another act of expansion. On Friday this week, China will begin its largest-ever naval drills with a foreign partner; conducted with ships from Russia in the Sea of Japan. While China says the exercises are routine, many analysts see them as targeting its eastern neighbor. http://www.presstv.ir/



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