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Japan, China to hold 'informal' talks on ties
Updated: 2006-01-06 19:42

Japan and China will hold an "informal" meeting in Beijing on Jan. 9, Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said today in a faxed statement.

Officials will discuss issues between the two countries, including rights for natural resources development in the East China Sea, the statement said.

Relations between Japan and China are strained following visits by Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to a Tokyo shrine that honors the war dead, including leaders convicted of crimes in World War II. In the East China Sea, Japan and China, Asia's two biggest oil consumers, are sparring over energy rights, after China started drilling in the area to extract oil and gas.

"Relations with China and South Korea are important and are growing deeper all the time. Koizumi said at his first press conference of the year on Jan. 4. 卑My visits to Yasukuni Shrine are a domestic issue, and should be understood as such.

Koizumi visited the shrine for the fourth time since taking office on Oct. 17, leading China and South Korea to cancel talks with Japan.

Japan is asking China to cease oil and gas production in the East China Sea that it says will siphon gas from Japanese territory.

The two nations are yet to agree on their territorial rights. China says its territory extends to the end of the continental shelf, while Japan says the sea border is the median line, or halfway between the countries' shores.

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