Japan pressed to talk before scouring seabed (2)

09:04, April 27, 2010      

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Last year, the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology announced plans to send robotic submarines to study areas near seabed volcanos for minerals, AFP reported. It said experts believe exploiting those remote and hard-to-reach deposits will become feasible despite the huge technical challenges and expense, as certain minerals become scarcer worldwide.

Zhou said China's reaction would also vary depending on the scale of Japan's operation. If it is a small reconnaissance patrol through the region, then China is not likely to prevent it, "but massive drilling will surely trigger a clash, and that will pose a bigger threat," he said.

The professor said bilateral negotiations on territorial disputes have progressed little over the years and the issue should be mediated by a third party such as the United Nations-mandated International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. "We need to change our strategy. China's influence is expanding and now we can afford to turn to a fair third party rather than just talking with Japan."

Jin Linbo, a researcher at the China Institute of International Studies, suggested that Tokyo should communicate with Beijing before taking any unilateral action, which may be "misinterpreted" by China.

China's growing military presence and exercises at sea have also worried Japan in recent years. "The increase in frequency and size of our military exercise is normal; it only shows that China's navy is getting stronger. As long as it does not breach any law, other countries should gradually get used to it," Jin added.

Source: China Daily
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