China has begun extracting gas from disputed waters

China has begun extracting natural gas from an area of the East China Sea at the center of a territorial dispute with Japan, Kyodo News agency quoted the Japanese trade minister as saying Tuesday.

Japan and China have been at loggerheads over the use of natural resources in the area, which both countries claim could belong to their exclusive economic zones.

Trade Minister Shoichi Nakagawa said Japan had confirmed that China was already removing natural gas from the area, Kyodo said. In the past, Japan has proposed that Tokyo and Beijing decide on a line between their EEZs and jointly exploit resources in the area, AP reported.