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Japan, China begin gas treaty talks

29 Jul 2010 02:39 (+01:00 GMT)

Kyoto, 29 July (Argus) — Japan and China have started talks on a treaty to allow joint natural gas development in disputed East China Sea areas.

The talks follow an agreement struck in May between Chinese premier Wen Jiabao and Japan's former premier Yukio Hatoyama to start formal negotiations on the issue following an earlier 2008 accord. The 2008 deal steered clear of resolving the countries' respective maritime boundaries, signalling a thawing in relations between the two Asian rivals. But little progress has been made until now.

Japan is to invest in the Chunxiao gas field developed by China's state-owned oil firms CNOOC and Sinopec, while the two nations will jointly develop other fields. The second round of talks is planned to be held in Beijing later this year.

China is currently facing diplomatic pressure from the US to resolve its border disputes with southeast Asian nations in the South China Sea through international mediation.

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