BEIJING (Kyodo) Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Saturday repeated Beijing’s position that it is within its rights to continue exploration work at a disputed gas field in the East China Sea, an act Japan views as violating the spirit of a bilateral deal.

At a news conference on the sidelines of China’s annual parliament session, Yang also stated China’s opposition to a possible missile launch by North Korea, urging “relevant parties” to do more for stability on the Korean Peninsula.

The gas field in question — known as Tianwaitian in Chinese and Kashi in Japanese — is “located in China’s exclusive economic zone, and has nothing to do with a common understanding” on the dispute reached with Japan last year, Yang said.

That agreement marked a step forward in solving differences over China’s development of the gas fields, where Japan is laying claim to resources it fears China will siphon off.

According to the deal, Japan will invest in a gas field already operated by China.

The countries also agreed to jointly explore an area that is yet to be developed and to leave some other areas to further discussion.

Since the agreement was made, Japan has since learned that China is continuing to work the Tianwaitian gas field.

Tokyo views the field as one of the areas that was left for further consultations and has lodged a complaint.

While Yang said that the particular gas field has no links with the June agreement, he said the deal itself was “a reflection of an improvement in and development of bilateral relations.”

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