China and Japan pledged greater overall cooperation at recent economic talks in Japan, AP reported, though the lingering dispute over rights to gas expoloration in the East China Sea remained unresolved. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura discussed pursuing a regional free-trade zone, increasing energy efficiency and intellectual property rights enforcement and allowing the yuan to apprieciate at a faster rate. The rights to underwater oil fields claimed by both countries are still a sticking point after 11 rounds of discussion. Chinese crews began drilling near the contested demarcation line in 2005, and Beijing has since rejected offers from Japan to jointly develop the fields.
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