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China, Japan to Meet over Gas Fields Dispute
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China and Japan will hold high-level talks in Beijing next week on the gas fields dispute in the East China Sea, said Akira Amari, Japan's Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, on Friday.

The two countries held their seventh round of talks on the issue on Thursday in Tokyo, but they yielded little progress.

Both countries are trying to find ways to cooperate, and will explore possibilities at next week's meeting, Amari said, but declined to specify the main obstacles.

The Chinese foreign ministry's consistent position is that joint development in the region is the best way to resolve the differences.

Six similar senior foreign ministry-level official dialogues have been held since October 2004 without breakthrough.

The discussion comes ahead of Premier Wen Jiabao's three-day visit to Japan on April 11. Amari was quoted as saying that Tokyo is seeking to reach an agreement with Beijing on the issue at the summit meeting between Wen and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe.

(China Daily March 31, 2007)

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