Thursday, June 19, 2008

Defining victory

Yes, sometimes it does matter that your Minister of Foreign Affairs passed the bar exam while still an undergraduate:

Questioner: "Though it is my understanding that there have been many gas fields discovered on or around the mid-point line, why are Shirakaba and Asunaro the only fields mentioned? Why are the others not mentioned? In addition, the deputy spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday declared that Shirakaba is inside China's area of sovereignty and it has no relationship to any 'joint development.' What are your thoughts on this?

Foreign Minister Kōmura: "The northern region is not the Asunaro platform. Asunaro is slightly further south. Admittedly, there have been many gas & oil fields that have been problematic. However, as regards Shirakaba, which has been the biggest problem, it is being developed from a point that is slightly closer to the Chinese mainland than the midline we draw. The reason it became the biggest problem was the 'straw effect,' where the possibility of 'Aren't resources on the Japanese side being withdrawn too?' exists. I would like you to understand this is an attempt to tidy up the very biggest problem and then, 'as a symbol of a sea of peaceful cooperation and friendship, let us develop together a completely brand new area.'

As for remaining areas (of dispute) that is for continuing negotiations.

As for the Chinese declaration that 'This is not joint development,' I would like to say that this is a matter of definition. If the Chinese are saying 'This is not joint development,' I have no intention of filing a protest, saying 'No, no you are wrong.' At the end of the day, we come away from this winners -- with a committed investment by a Japanese corporation in an area on the Chinese side of the midline that the Chinese have already developed. Whether you want to call it 'joint development' or not call it 'joint development' -- I really don't care either way."

So cold, so smooth, so contemptuous.

You have a lawyer as foreign minister. Be happy.

Later - Here is the transcript of the press conference.

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