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Japan eyes ministerial talks with China
Updated: 2005-10-01 14:37

A Chinese official called Japan's proposal for joint development "feasible".

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qing Gang said that Beijing wants a stable and peaceful settlement of the dispute through dialogue.

Beijing and Tokyo, whose tetchy relations date back to Japan's wartime occupation of China, have been sparring for years over potentially lucrative gas fields in an area where their 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zones overlap.

The Japanese side proposed joint gas and oil development in the area straddling both sides of what Tokyo says is the maritime boundary, said Sasae.

"We explored the idea of joint exploration in a broad sense," said Cui Tiankai, head of the Chinese delegation and director-general of the Asian Affairs Department of the Foreign Ministry. "We believe that under the circumstances it is the only feasible approach."


"The Chinese side reiterated that China's resource development is taking place in undisputed waters near China," a Japanese official said.

Japanese officials expressed concern toward the fact that China was moving ahead with development, and explained that there were "strong views" within Japan calling for its own test-drilling in the area if China continues its development without heeding Japan's demands, the official said.

Tensions rose last month after Japan said it had spotted flames coming out of a Chinese drilling facility on China's side of the median line. China began test drilling in the East China Sea in 2003.

Japan fears that China's development of gas fields, even located in its side of the  the median line that separates the two countries' exclusive economic zones, could tap into resources lying beneath the waters.

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