Next round of Japan-China talks on undersea gas and oil is declared

Japan has proposed to China that working-level talks on undersea gas and oil deposits in a disputed area of the East China Sea be resumed on Oct. 19, Japan's trade minister said Tuesday.

Shoichi Nakagawa gave no other details of the proposed talks, which would be the fourth round of talks between the two sides on the dispute in the past year. A ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Japan had not yet received a reply from China.

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.

Last month, Japan lodged a protest against China after Tokyo said it had confirmed Beijing was extracting natural gas from the Tianwaitian oil field in the East China Sea, over worries that oil reserves might be sucked dry.

China said, however, that it was within its rights to continue new gas drilling activity in the area, reports the AP. I.L.

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