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China, Japan Conduct 8th Round of East China Sea Talks, Agreeing on Fresh Talks in June
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China and Japan conducted the eighth round of talks on the East China Sea issues at Beijing's Diaoyutai State Guesthouse Friday morning, agreeing to hold fresh talks in late June.

Chinese Foreign Ministry's Director of Asian Affairs Department Hu Zhengyue attended the talks as top Chinese 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 two sides expressed their respective views on the joint development of the gas and oil resources in East China Sea in both formal and informal ways, Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a press release.

"The discussions are in-depth and conducive," the press release said, adding that both sides agreed the next round of talks be held in late June.

The current close-door talks took place after Chinese 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-point 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 was quoted as saying so upon his arrival in Beijing Thursday.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a regular press conference Thursday that China wants to promote the negotiation process and achieve a joint development plan "acceptable to both sides at an early date" based on the consensus reached by the two leaders.

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

(Xinhua News Agency May 30, 2007)

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