China and Japan fail to reach an agreement on the dispute over natural gas in the East China Sea

In the latest round of Sino-Japanese dialogue held in Beijing on February 23, the two countries could not reach a consensus on the dispute over the development of natural gas in the East China Sea.
However, the Xinhua News Agency quoted the statement from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying that both China and Japan have agreed to continue working together to resolve the long-term disputes in the East China Sea's natural gas fields as soon as possible.
"The two sides agreed that they should continue to work on the understanding reached by the leaders of both countries and strive to reach a preliminary solution," Xinhua said.
China and Japan have already held 12 rounds of official talks on this issue, but none have reached a compromise. Both China and Japan claim to have economic rights in parts of the East China Sea.
Beijing has stated that it hopes to resolve the dispute before President Hu Jintao visits Japan in spring. This will be the first visit to Japan by the top leader of China in 10 years.
"Hu Jintao's visit to Japan this year will be historic. It will carry the past and open the future," Xinhua quoted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying.
The two-day "China-Japan Strategic Dialogue" was presided over by Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Sui Zhongzhong.