China and Japan Clash Over Gas Fields

China and Japan Clash Over Gas Fields

February 22, 2005

An article in today’s Japan Times highlights the growing conflict between Japan and china over rights to the gas deposits in the Sea of Japan (East China Sea).

BEIJING (Kyodo) Japan’s demand that Beijing halt its gas exploration projects in the East China Sea and provide information about them is “unacceptable,” a Chinese government official said Tuesday.

It is clear that China’a growing economic and military strength is the reason behind recent changes in Japanese policy including 1) a new defense policy focused on developing a missile defense system capable of hitting Shanghai, 2) their recent statement that the defense system will only be used against missiles targeting Japan, not those overflying Japan on the way to another destimation (any guesses?, and 3) their recent announcement that they will reduce financial support for US military presence in the area.

I am convinced that the worldwide scramble for oil, occasioned by China and India’s dramatic increases in demand, is moving all the pieces on the board. When China or India sign long-term supply contracts with Russia and Iran, their security council votes are included in the deal. We should not forget that the proximate cause of the Pearl Harbor bombing was the american ebargo of south Asian coal from reaching Japan.

It is vitally important that we develop increased oil supplies, along with oil substitutes in the coming years.


John Rutledge

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