China and Japan Sunday agreed to set up a communication
mechanism to deal with technical and maritime affairs after the conclusion of
the sixth round of talks to resolve the dispute over gas exploration rights in
the East China Sea.
Hu Zhengyue (L)
chief of Chinese Foreign Ministry's Asian Affairs Department, and
Kenichiro Sasae, head of Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asia-Oceania Bureau,
shake hands as they start talks in Tokyo May 18, 2006.[File
The two sides acknowledged the importance of maintaining stability in the
East China Sea and exchanged views on joint development proposals.
Hu Zhengyue, director of the Foreign Ministry's Department of Asian Affairs,
and Kenichiro Sasae, head of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian
Affairs Bureau headed the delegations for the two-day talks in Beijing.
The third meeting in the past four months reflects the importance the two
governments attach to the issue, Hu said ahead of the talks.
Sasae said Tokyo hopes to improve and develop bilateral ties by resolving the
East China Sea issue.
In the previous rounds of talks, he said, the two sides had gained a better
understanding of each other's position; however, major differences remain.
"Thus we need joint efforts to mend the rift and show our wisdom in facing
the challenges," he said.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry admitted lack of agreement but described the
latest round of talks as "conducive" and "pragmatic," saying the two sides would
continue with the process.
Reports quoted unnamed sources from the Japanese Embassy as saying that the
two sides have also agreed to set up a sub-group of oil and gas development
experts from both countries to explore the issue.
The first round of talks was held in Beijing in October 2004 and the last
round in Tokyo in May, in which the two sides agreed to boost efforts to settle
the issue through joint development of the area. However, they differ greatly on
Huang Xingyuan, a counsellor with the Chinese Foreign Ministry who had been
stationed in Japan for five years, told China Daily it is normal that there are
disagreements; what is important is that the two sides are sitting down for
talks to handle the difficulties and challenges and did not give up on their
He said both the governments have expressed willingness to improve their
relationship and believes that the territorial disputes would be finally
In another development, State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan met a Japanese
delegation of young members of parliament on Saturday afternoon in Beijing.
Tang appealed to the legislators to become the "driving force" in promoting
Sino-Japanese friendship and play a positive role in realizing steady
development of bilateral ties.
They were in Beijing for a Sino-Japanese friendship forum.