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Japan And China Struggle To Resolve Gas Dispute

The East China Sea.
by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Jun 26, 2007
Japan and China on Tuesday failed to break the deadlock in a longstanding dispute over drilling rights in the energy-rich East China Sea in their latest round of talks, officials said. The Asian rivals' one-day meeting in Tokyo, the ninth round of talks since the dialogue began in 2004, ended without tangible results and with no fresh formal proposals from either side, Japanese officials said.

"Our understanding deepened through the debate, but we did not reach agreement on fundamental points," Japan's negotiator, Kenichiro Sasae, told reporters after the meeting with his Chinese counterpart Hu Zhengyue.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao paid a landmark visit to Japan in April and agreed with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe to find an amicable settlement.

China indicated Tuesday that it stood by that agreement.

"We hope by the joint efforts of the two sides that the consensus of the leaders can be realised in the consultations and make the East China Sea a sea of friendship, cooperation and peace," said foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang.

But the two countries have also stood by their territorial claims and there has been no visible progress since Abe and Wen met.

"We could see subjectively the Chinese side's willingness to negotiate a compromise, but that has not led to concrete results so far," a Japanese official said after the latest round of talks.

As part of the effort to step up dialogue, Japan and China have also appointed experts, apart from the main negotiators, to complete a study on the dispute by the autumn.

Japan and China, two of the world's largest energy importers, are locked in disagreement over the boundaries between their territorial waters in the East China Sea, which is rich in gas deposits.

China began test-drilling in the area in 2003, provoking outrage in Tokyo.

China has proposed joint development, but only in the part of the area also claimed by Japan.

A newspaper report earlier this year said Japan, seeing no headway, may be willing to compromise and propose joint development of the entire area, outraging hardliners in Tokyo.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Co2 Burial Could Help Extract Methane From Old Coal Mines
Pittsburgh PA (SPX) Jun 27, 2007
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