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China rejects Japanese blame over East China Sea talks

Japan urges China to be 'practical' on gas fields
Japan on Friday regretted it would unlikely agree with China any time soon on their claims to the energy-rich East China Sea and urged Beijing to be more "practical" to break the impasse. Japan said it was giving up hope for a deal in time for a visit to China by Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, which is expected later this year although no date has been set. "We initially planned to have a certain working-level agreement by autumn and confirm it at the summit level when the prime minister visits China by the end of the year," Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura said. "We regret very much that we have not reached the situation to make an agreement by autumn," the top government spokesman said. "It is regrettable that the Chinese side has not made a practical and full-fledged proposal. I hope China will make a concrete proposal soon by taking a stance to resolve this issue more actively," he said.
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Oct 20, 2007
China said Saturday it was "totally unreasonable" for Japan to blame it over an impasse in talks about their competing claims on the energy-rich East China Sea.

"China has consistently taken a active and pragmatic attitude in the East China Sea negotiations and has put forward fair and reasonable proposals," said spokesman Liu Jianchao in a foreign ministry statement.

"It's not China's responsibility that negotiations have not yielded progress. Japan's blame on China is totally unreasonable," the statement added.

Asia's two largest economies, both major energy importers, have rowed over access to lucrative gas fields in the contested waters for some time.

Liu's comments came after Japan on Friday urged Beijing to be more "practical" to break the impasse, saying an agreement was currently unlikely.

"It is regrettable that the Chinese side has not made a practical and full-fledged proposal," Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura said.

"I hope China will make a concrete proposal soon by taking a stance to resolve this issue more actively," he added.

The countries have held talks about the dispute since 2004, with the latest round held in Beijing last week. They are scheduled to negotiate again in early November, the official Xinhua news agency said.

China began drilling in the gas-rich area in 2003, having rejected a maritime border which Japan takes as the starting point for discussions.

Beijing says its economic zone stretches nearly as far east as Japan's Okinawa island chain.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, on a rare visit to Tokyo in April, called for the two countries to resolve the maritime row peacefully, although Beijing has stood by its territorial claims.

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India plans new hydropower policy
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