China said on Friday it had every right to drill in the East China Sea close to waters disputed with Japan, adding that it did not recognize a “unilateral” Japanese median line setting out a boundary between the two in the waters.
Japan this week called on China to halt construction of oil-and-gas exploration platforms in the East China Sea close to waters claimed by both nations, concerned that Chinese drills could tap reservoirs that extend into Japanese territory.
Patrol ships and aircraft from both countries have been shadowing each other in the area over the past couple of years, raising fears of a confrontation and clash.
In an escalation of the latest dispute, Japan released aerial photographs of China’s construction in the area, accusing it of unilateral development and a halfhearted attitude towards a 2008 agreement to jointly develop resources there.
China resumed exploration in the East China Sea two years ago, Japan said. In 2012, Japan’s government angered China by buying a disputed island chain there from private owners.