Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Humble Pie Alert - Chinese government organs really can make funny claims

I have an attitude problem. Whenever I see reports like this:
China bans ship traffic around disputed gas fields in E China

Associated Press

Tokyo, April 17 -:China has banned ship traffic around a disputed gas field in the East China Sea that is claimed by both Beijing and Tokyo as Chinese workers lay pipelines and cables to tap its resources, Japanese media reported on Sunday.

The move is certain to spur protests from the Japanese Government, which has been deadlocked in negotiations with China over rights to the undersea energy deposits. The Pinghu gas field lies in an area that straddles a median line that Japan considers the border between the two countries' territorial claims.

China, however, makes a wider territorial claim that envelopes the entire field.

Chinese maritime authorities have posted a notice that all unauthorised ship traffic will be banned in the waters around the Pinghu field from March 1 to Sept. 30, Kyodo News agency and Fuji Television Network reported.
My reaction is something on the order of:

"Oh, God. Here we go again. Either they have the coordinates wrong, or the warning is mistranslated, or the damn thing existed only in the imaginations of a couple of Shanghai-based stringers. Anything to get the crazies going among the commentariat."

Hence my stammer-inducing astonishment when it turns out that the report is true, in all its particulars.

Here is the notice, posted on the website of China's Maritime Safety Administration:

(Click on image to enlarge)

For as long as the China MSA keeps the notice up on its website, you can access it by clicking here.

- Ahhh, now we see how quickly actual screwups get handled:
China says to revise East China Sea sailing ban

Mon Apr 17, 2006 10:27pm ET-TOKYO - China has told Japan it will revise its ban on ships entering an area of the East China Sea that straddles a disputed maritime border with Japan, Japan's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

China told Japan it made "technical errors" in imposing the maritime traffic ban and would revise it so that it did not go beyond a disputed median line drawn by Japan to separate the two countries' 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zones, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"I got the impression that it was a simple mistake," Japan's top government spokesman, Shinzo Abe, told reporters. "I believe China is well aware of the nature of the area."

All is well. Restored is my naive confidence in the underlying sanity of the Chinese leadership. And the humble pie was delicious.

No comments: