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Last Updated: Monday, 6 February 2006, 12:56 GMT
Japan, China to resume dialogue
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso speaks at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo, 19 January 2006.
Japan's foreign minister has inflamed relations in recent days
China and Japan are to resume routine talks amid continuing diplomatic tension over several issues, including a controversial war shrine in Tokyo.

The talks are set to take place on Friday and Saturday, in Japan.

The announcement followed comments at the weekend by Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Aso which angered Beijing.

Mr Aso said Japanese colonial rule was of benefit to Taiwan's educational system. China and Japan have also rowed over oil and gas and their history.

The talks will take place in Tokyo between Japanese Vice-Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi and Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo, a Japanese foreign ministry statement said.

"The purpose of this session is to have better communication between Japan and China," the statement said.

It said the two sides would "exchange frank opinions about the bilateral relationship and regional issues".

They are the first talks between the two sides since October.

The latest spat between the Asian giants happened at the weekend, when Mr Aso suggested Taiwan had good educational standards thanks to Japanese rule during 1895-1945.

The previous weekend, Mr Aso angered China by calling on Japan's Emperor Akihito to visit the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, which honours Japan's war dead, including several convicted war criminals.

Beijing is already annoyed by repeated visits by Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to the shrine.

Mr Aso later backtracked on the comments.

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