Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi answered media questions on East China Sea in Beijing on Tuesday. Following is a tentative translation of the questions and answers:
I. Q: What's the purpose of China to reach consensus with Japan on East China Sea issue? What benefits could China gain from this?
A: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has expounded China's stance time and again. I would like to emphasize here one more time that the understanding inked between China and Japan on East China Sea issue through consultation is a key step to implement the major consensus reached by leaders of both countries in an effort to make the East China Sea a place of peace, cooperation and friendship. The outcome is mutually beneficial and in line with the fundamental interests of the two countries and the two peoples.
II. Q: A senior Japanese official said recently that Japan has not recognized China's sovereign rights over Chunxiao oil and gas field. What's your comments?
A: I would like to make two points: first, it is with no doubt that the sovereign rights of Chunxiao oil and gas field belong to China; secondly, both China and Japan have agreed that Japanese enterprises would participate in the relevant cooperation in Chunxiao oil and gas field in accordance with the Chinese laws governing the external cooperation on offshore oil resources development and accept Chinese jurisdiction. This fully embodies that China has the sovereign rights over Chunxiao oil and gas field.
III. Q: Why does China allow Japanese companies to join the development of Chunxiao oil and gas field?
A: Absorption of foreign capitals in participating through cooperation in tapping offshore oil and gas resources is a common practice that complies with the Chinese laws and the international practice. Relevant Chinese companies have already undertaken cooperation with Unocal, Shell and other foreign companies in Chunxiao oil and gas field.
The Chinese companies concerned allow the Japanese enterprises to participate in the development of Chunxiao oil and gas field in accordance with the Chinese laws, the nature of which is the same as the cooperation with Unocal and Shell and bears no special meaning.
I would like to stress that it is just for that reason that such development through cooperation is under Chinese jurisdiction and is led by the Chinese companies.
IV. Q: Some Japanese officials said that whether the development of Chunxiao oil and gas field should be called the joint development depends on the definition of joint development, and it is not important to call it "joint development" or not. What's the comment from the Chinese side?
A: The development through cooperation is totally different from the joint development. Joint development is a transitional arrangement which is not valid under laws of any party involved. What the Chinese and Japanese companies will do in the Chunxiao oil and gas field is the development through cooperation, an act that will be done in accordance with Chinese laws.
V. Q: Certain people in Japan said that the joint development between China and Japan in the northern sea areas of the East China Sea is based on the "median line". What's your comment?
A: On the East China sea delimitation, China has never and will not recognize the so-called "median line" as advocated by Japan. China upholds the principle of natural prolongation to solve the delimitation issue of East China Sea continental shelf. The ultimate delimitation of East China Sea will be solved through negotiations between China and Japan.
VI. Q: What is the impact of relevant agreements reached by China and Japan on the two countries' rights and interests at sea?
A: The principled consensus reached by China and Japan on joint development is a transitional measure, or a temporary arrangement. It will not affect China's sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the East China Sea.
(Xinhua News Agency June 25, 2008)