China has yet to begin full-fledged production in the Chunxiao gas field in the East China Sea, where Japan and China are at odds over resource exploration rights, the Foreign Ministry’s top bureaucrat said Monday.
“We have confirmed through several routes that there is no truth” that full-fledged production, as reported by the media, had begun, Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi said at a news conference.
China’s largest offshore oil producer, China National Offshore Oil Corp., said on its Web site that Zhang Guobao, vice chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, had inspected the gas field on July 24 and said that full-scale development and production had started.
But the statement was deleted from the Web site after Japanese media reported the news Friday.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said earlier Monday that Tokyo had asked Beijing last Friday to confirm whether production had begun at the Chunxiao field. Tokyo also repeated its request that a Chinese consortium, including CNOOC, halt development of the field and provide data on the project to Japan.
China said it would “urgently” confirm the information, according to Abe.
At a separate news conference, Vice Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Takao Kitabata said Japan will again ask for confirmation on the information.
He said China has since taken no action, other than removing the statement from CNOOC’s Web site.
The Chunxiao field, called Shirakaba by Japan, is located a few kilometers west of the median line that Japan claims separates the two countries’ 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zones.
Beijing does not recognize the line and claims its EEZ stretches to the edge of the continental shelf, near Okinawa and encompassing Taiwan.
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