Mon, Oct 12, 2009 - Page 5 News List

Hatoyama, Wen discuss East China Sea and food safety

AFP , BEIJING

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama on Saturday called on Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) to work with him to overcome two prickly issues — a territorial dispute in the East China Sea and food safety.

Hatoyama, who met his counterpart separately after a three-way summit with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, said he called on China and Japan to make the East China Sea a “sea of friendship.”

“I told [Wen] that I would like to turn it into a sea of friendship through developing it together, through working together with sweat,” Hatoyama told reporters before leaving the Chinese capital.

Hatoyama advocates better ties with China, but a dispute over exploitation rights for gas fields near islands the two countries claim in the East China Sea remains a sticking point.

Wen said the territorial dispute is an emotional issue for the Chinese people, but “basically agreed” with Hatoyama, the visiting prime minister said.

The Japanese and Chinese foreign ministers failed to make progress on the gas field and food safety issues during recent talks in Shanghai.

Hatoyama also told Wen that Japanese concerns over the safety of imported Chinese food was an “obstacle” in trying to improve the bilateral relationship, he said.

Japan has urged China for settlement of a case involving pesticide-tainted Chinese-made frozen dumplings, which made 10 people ill in Japan in January last year.

Hatoyama departed for Japan late on Saturday, wrapping up his first tour of the region after taking office in the middle of last month.

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