CHINA / National

Japan, China talks end without breakthrough
Updated: 2006-05-18 19:47

Japan and China ended talks in disagreement Thursday over their competing claims to gas reserves in the East China Sea and planned to meet again next month, an official said.

Both sides exchanged details about their positions on the dispute and underlined the importance of managing boat traffic in the area to minimize the chance of an unexpected confrontation, Foreign Ministry spokesman Akira Chiba said.

But neither side presented new ideas in the 5 1/2-hour one-day meeting that could break the impasse, he said.

"There was no breakthrough," Chiba said. "There was a deepening of understanding of the viewpoints of each side."

The issue has strained relations between Beijing and Tokyo. China claims it has rights to the gas reserves under the sea bed in the East China Sea's Pinghu field, but Tokyo says the two countries should share them.

Repeated meetings between the countries have failed to resolve the dispute, and earlier this week, China had warned not to expect any breakthrough at the talks.

Delegates from the countries are eyeing another meeting next month, possibly in Beijing, but a date has not been set.
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