The Japanese government aims to establish a “crisis management” agreement to resolve any incidents. Chinese Premier Wen has agreed to open negotiations with Japan regarding natural gas fields, and the two countries both seek to solidify and resolve a 2008 bilateral agreement.
Both countries rely on natural gas for home heating and cooking, and both seek to find sources closer to home than the resource-rich far-Middle East. Similar disputes and tensions are taking place throughout the world as energy sources become more scarce, and as sea-bed resources are exploited. The Arctic is one such area where sea-bed mapping efforts are ongoing in earnest, with all Arctic countries vying for these rich resources.
As is witnessed by the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, these activities can result in widespread environmental damage. Given the technical hurdles, and the potential impacts, there are a number of international conventions in place to deal with such contingencies. As these energy sources become more scarce, there will likely be further pressures on international relations. Resources
US and China Can’t Calm South China Sea, Asia Times, June, 4, 2010
The Future of Japan-China Relations, Forbes.com, June 8, 2010