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China, Japan Start 8th Round of East China Sea Talks
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China and Japan started the eighth round of talks on the East China Sea issues at Beijing's Diaoyutai State Guesthouse Friday morning.


Director of Chinese Foreign Ministry's Department of Asian Affairs Hu Zhengyue attended the talks as top negotiator.


The Japanese delegation is represented by Kenichiro Sasae, head of the Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, and Harufumi Mochizuki, director-general of Japan's Natural Resources and Energy Agency.


The meeting is taking place after Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Japan last month, during which China and Japan agreed to speed up talks over the joint development of oil and gas fields in a "relatively wide area that is acceptable to both sides," and to report concrete measures to the countries' leaders by this fall.


"As this is the first negotiation held following the five consensus reached by the Chinese and Japanese leaders last month, each side has paid great attention to this round of talks," Hu said in his opening remarks.


Calling the talks "a new beginning" for both sides, Hu said China is ready to make joint efforts with Japan to push forward the consultations.


The Japanese side hopes to hear "positive and specific views" presented by China during the one-day talks, Sasae said upon his arrival in Beijing Thursday.


The two countries have conducted seven rounds of East China Sea talks since October 2004. The last round of talks was conducted in Tokyo in March.


(Xinhua News Agency May 25, 2007)

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