Friday, June 20, 2008

The Law of the Sea

Time out!

Over at Global Talk 21 Okumura Jun has already noted the stunner of the afternoon: The Yomiuri Shimbun's claim that the deal announced this week to jointly develop a bloc of potential gas/oil producing seabed in the East China Sea has been cancelled (What? Already? Before the first round of fistcuffs?). According to the article drilling in the joint development zone would be too provocative toward South Korea for the same reason that Japan sees the Shirakaba platform to be a provocation--the cross-line sucking out of hydrocarbons from under an area of abyssal mud the South Koreans say is theirs.

So, no sea of peace and prosperity aside from the Shirakaba platform investment promise -- this de re Yomiuri.

Now behind all this frou-frou, brouhaha and frantic handwaving is a deadline. Signatories to the Convention of the Law of the Sea have until May 2009 to delimit the extent of their continental shelves. Chinese and Japanese interests are of course not served by this international deadline: the matter of seabed sovereignty in the East China Sea is just too sensitive.

All of which makes the Tuesday split in between the Japan delegation's magnanimous attitude and the China delegation's militancy on the issue of a possible pushing back of the deadline on technical grounds all the more interesting...

Later - Whola! Ouch! Reading only the first paragraphs of an article and then the last sentence without reading the middle can get you into trouble. The joint development plan is not cancelled--just plans for joint development of the Asunaro field for the reasons stated above. The joint development area inside of the Japanese side of the median line is still on the table.

Bad MTC, trusting concluding paragraphs of Yomiuri articles without verifying!

Yuigahama Man
Kamakura City, Kanagawa Prefecture
May 27, 2007
Photo credit: MTC

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