China, Japan seek to ease oil dispute
Updated: 2006-01-09 15:12
China and Japan held informal talks on Monday about how to develop oil and
gas resources in disputed areas of the East China Sea, one of several sources of
tension between them, but agreed only to meet again.
An oil rig in China's Bohai Sea is seen in
this October 21, 2003 file photo. China and Japan held informal talks on
Monday about how to develop oil and gas resources in disputed areas of the
East China Sea, one of several sources of tension between them, but agreed
only to meet again.[Reuters]
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said last week that China and
Japan, the world's second- and third-largest consumers of crude oil, had agreed
in principle to develop the area jointly but Tokyo says they are still far apart
Kenichiro Sasae, head of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanic
Affairs Bureau, held half a day of discussions with his Chinese counterpart, Cui
Tiankai, in Beijing, a spokesman for the Japanese embassy said.
"There is this idea to jointly develop resources. We do not exclude the
possibility of this joint study but we are not so sure what it really means,"
the spokesman said.
The negotiations take place amid a range of disputes clouding relations
between the two sides, most springing from Japan's invasion and occupation of
much of China from 1931 to 1945.
China objects to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's repeated visits to
Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine, where major war criminals are honoured along with
millions of war dead. Beijing has also denounced a school history textbook that
whitewash Japan's wartime atrocities.
The embassy spokesman said the two sides had an "informal exchange of views"
on their overall relations.