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China, Japan gas talks end with no agreement
Updated: 2006-03-07 17:24

China and Japan have failed to agree on how to develop oil and gas reserves in disputed areas of the East China Sea, Kyodo news agency reported on Tuesday.

At the end of two days of talks, they were split on the position of the border between their exclusive economic zones in the area around the islands, known in Japan as the Senkakus and in China as the Diaoyus.

They exchanged harsh words over their basic positions, Kyodo quoted an unnamed Japanese government official as saying.

"China presented a new proposal," Kenichiro Sasae, head of the Japanese delegation and the Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceania Affairs Bureau, was quoted as saying.

"We have presented our plan and agreed to bring back the proposal to our respective government for consideration," Sasae said, adding he hoped a fifth round of talks in Tokyo would be scheduled as soon as possible. No details on the proposals were immediately available.

The talks have been hampered by strained Sino-Japanese relations, which have sunk to their lowest point in decades over a range of disputes, in particular Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits to a Tokyo war shrine that China sees as a symbol of Japan's past militarism.

Japan has previously asked China to provide information on the scope of its resource discoveries in the South China Sea and to halt development until a solid agreement has been reached.

Tokyo fears China could tap resources in Japan's zone.

China has said it would work with Tokyo to develop gas fields on the Japanese side of the line but not in its own area, Kyodo reported on Monday. It reported on Tuesday that both sides said joint development should be reciprocal, but no deal was reached.

"We share the view that this issue should be promptly resolved through dialogue," Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe told reporters on Tuesday.

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