China Withdraws East China Sea Rig Movement Plan That Might Have Been in Japan’s EEZ

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
China’s national flag

BEIJING — China’s Maritime Safety Administration on Thursday withdrew an earlier announcement that equipment used for extracting resources such as natural gas would be moved within the East China Sea.

The navigational warning initially issued by the administration stated ships were to tow rigs to another location in the East China Sea from Thursday evening through Saturday evening. According to Japanese government sources, this location was on Japan’s side of the Japan-China median line in waters northeast of the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture.

Japan’s government had lodged a protest with the Chinese side through diplomatic channels because the intended destination likely falls inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

“The intended destination was a location that ordinarily would be unthinkable,” a Japanese government official said. “If that announcement hadn’t been withdrawn, an extremely serious situation could have developed.”