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FM says deadline undesirable for East China Sea consultation
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It is undesirable to set a deadline for the consultation on the East China Sea issue between China and Japan, said Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Wednesday.

Yang made the remarks when answering a question raised by a Japanese journalist at a press conference on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC), or the parliament.

Chinese and Japanese leaders reached four new consensus on the issue during Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's visit to China and agreed to find early solutions that serve the overall interests, Yang said.

The foreign ministries of the two countries, guided by the consensus reached between the leaders, are building on the current progress and discussing new solutions, he added.

However, "it is undesirable to set a deadline for the consultation," the minister said.

Meanwhile, Yang said Chinese President Hu Jintao will visit Japan soon, and diplomats of the two countries are discussing details of the visit.

"There is no such an issue as postponement of President Hu's visit," said Yang in response to the question on whether Hu's visit, scheduled for this spring when "cherries are in full bloom", would be postponed to some time after May.

Speculations arise over President Hu's visit to Japan lately due to the dispute on a food poisoning incident.

In January, Japanese media reported 10 people fell ill in the country after consuming frozen meat dumplings produced by a food plant based in north China's Hebei Province. Japanese police found methamidophos in the vomit of those poisoned and in food packages in their houses. But sample tests show the rest of dumplings in the same batch and other batches made at about the same time by the Chinese company were safe. So were the raw materials used in production.

Further cooperation between China and Japan is required to investigate the so-called "poisoned dumpling incident", Yang said.

(Xinhua News Agency March 12, 2008)

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