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    One of the obvious solutions to Japan-China energy competition, on its face at least, would be for the two countries to cooperate. The problem, besides deep-running historical enmity, is that no one can agree on what the terms of cooperation should be. But the governments are at least gesturing in the direction of giving it the old college try:

    At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the morning of 1 October, the Japan and PRC governments opened their second day of high-level talks revolving around development of gas fields in the East China Sea. The Japan side proposed joint development of natural gas fields along the Japan-China boundary line (the center line [along the ocean floor]), on the conditions that China cease [independent] development of the fields and share information about maritime subterranean natural resources. The China side responded that its intention is to give the idea “serious investigation” and provide an answer within the month, when the second round of talks are hosted in Beijing.

    This is the first time Japan has officially proposed such cooperation. Its request for information about the PRC’s undersea resource development program was greeted with a curt refusal yesterday. As always, we’ll have to wait and see.

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