|Pursuit of Japanese coast guard ship legitimate: China
BEIJING (Kyodo) China said Wednesday that a Chinese marine survey ship acted properly and legitimately earlier this week when it chased a Japan Coast Guard vessel that was engaged in seafloor research in an area claimed by Japan as within the Japanese side of the median line in the East China Sea.
"The operation was totally proper and legitimate," China News Service quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry deputy spokeswoman Jiang Yu as saying.
China does not recognize the median line claimed by Japan.
The Japan Coast Guard said Tuesday it temporarily suspended research on seafloors after its survey vessel Shoyo was chased by a Chinese marine survey ship about 320 km northwest off Amami-Oshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture.
The Coast Guard said the waters where the Shoyo was conducting the survey on Monday are within the Japanese side of the median line, claimed by Japan to distinguish the exclusive economic zones of the two countries.
The Chinese vessel approached the Shoyo at 2 p.m. Monday inside the Japanese EEZ area and came to within about 1 km of the Japanese ship an hour and a half later, at which point it demanded over the radio suspension of the marine survey, according to the Coast Guard.
The Chinese side followed the Shoyo after the Japanese vessel continued with the survey, claiming it was "an internationally legitimate survey" since the ship was researching on the continental shelf within Japanese waters.
The Shoyo briefly halted the survey and headed toward Amami-Oshima Island in southwestern Japan, but the Chinese vessel continued its pursuit until about 4:40 p.m., the Coast Guard said.
The Japanese Foreign Ministry lodged a protest with the Chinese government on Tuesday following a report from the Coast Guard.
The Japan Times: Thursday, May 6, 2010
(C) All rights reserved