Observers warn this could be a potential flashpoint in the future. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao had this to say:
If Japan persists in granting drilling rights to companies in disputed waters it will cause a serious infringement of China's sovereign right.The two sides have tried to work out a way to share the resources of the disputed waters, as Korea and Japan did in the waters surrounding Tokto/Takeshima in 1998, but both sides failed to agree. China already drills for gas in nearby waters both sides agree are China's.
The decision to allow test drilling could already worsen relations that have already been battered by the Japan's right-wing-sponsored textbooks and Japanese PM Junichiro Koizumi's visits to Yasukuni Shrine, where Class-A war criminals from World War II are enshrined.