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China Makes New Proposal on Gas Deposits
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China proposed a new plan for the joint exploitation of gas deposits in the East China Sea at the fourth round negotiations with Japan, which ended in Beijing Tuesday, the Oriental Morning Post reported. Both parties agreed to hold the next round in Tokyo in the near future.

Neither of the parties mentioned any details about the new proposal. But China insists that the waters west of the so-called "central divide," defined by Japan and never recognized by China, should be exploited by China independently, while waters for joint exploitation include only those near the "central divide," the post quoted the Japanese media as saying so.

The two parties also reached the consensus that all joint exploitation plans should be temporary, and should not influence the future boarder of each other's exclusive economic zones. As well, all arrangements made by the parties, which should be mutually beneficial, a Japanese official said yesterday.

The two-day negotiation were "practical and constructive," according to the foreign minister Li Zhaoxing.

Kenichiro Sasae, head of the Japanese foreign ministry's Asia-Oceania bureau and Japanese delegation, said: "Both parties are willing to consider each other's suggestions."

However, the two sides don't agree with each other in some key issues, Sasae said. 

(Shanghai Daily March 8, 2006)


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