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China may have sampled natural resources in Japan’s EEZ in Pacific

Sankei gave top play to maritime research conducted by a Chinese vessel off the coast of Okinotorishima in the northern Pacific for three weeks in July without obtaining Japan’s prior consent, speculating that the Chinese might have collected samples of natural resources. According to several GOJ sources, Japan Coast Guard patrol boats reportedly witnessed the crew of the Chinese research ship releasing into the ocean several times a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) that is usually used to gather samples from the ocean. Noting that the Chinese government has taken issue with Japan’s territorial claims to the small islet by calling it a “rock” around which an exclusive economic zone cannot be designated, the paper conjectured that China is anxious to undermine Japan’s control of the outcrop by persistently conducting maritime surveys.

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