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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Tokyo and Beijing to Talk Gas

TOKYO -- Japanese and Chinese government officials will hold talks next month about gas drilling in a disputed area of the East China Sea, said Japanese Foreign Ministry Press Secretary Hatsuhisa Takashima.

"The Chinese side has agreed to official-level consultations in May," Takashima said in a press conference in Tokyo on Monday. A date and venue for the talks has yet to be agreed, he said.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi met Chinese President Hu Jintao in Indonesia on Saturday in a bid to defuse the worst conflict in decades between Asia's two largest economies. The two leaders agreed to strive for "friendly ties" in the talks that followed three weekends of sometimes violent protests against Japanese interests in China.

The two countries are at odds over ownership of possible gas reserves in the East China Sea, while China is angry about Japanese textbooks it says gloss over atrocities committed by Japanese troops during World War II and Koizumi's visits to a war shrine in Tokyo.

Japan has accused China of siphoning gas from its territory and has demanded a halt to work at the offshore Chunxiao field.