Japan and China on Two-day gas drilling talks

Japan urged China on Friday to stop developing gas fields in a disputed part of the East China Sea and called for joint Tokyo-Beijing exploitation of natural resources in the area at the opening of two-day talks on the conflict.

The two countries have been feuding over claims to undersea gas deposits in the area and the delineation of their exclusive economic zones there. The clash is part of the overall troubled relationship between Japan and China. Machimura said that Japan is also ready to discuss jointly developing reserves with China.

The Japanese delegation was led by Kenichiro Sasae, director of the Asia and Oceania Bureau at Japan's Foreign Ministry. China's chief negotiator was Cui Tiankai, head of the Chinese Foreign Ministry's Asian Affairs Department.

The negotiators will not release details of the discussions until they end on Saturday. It was the third round of talks the two sides have had on the dispute in the past year, informs the AP. I.L.

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