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Korea, China to hold talks on EEZ

South Korea and China are expected to hold a meeting next week in Seoul over a dispute on their maritime border in the Yellow Sea, a diplomatic source said Thursday.

The two countries have been at odds over their partially overlapping exclusive economic zones. Seoul wants the EEZ to be drawn at the halfway point, but Beijing wants other relevant factors including the length of coastlines of each country to be reflected.

Director general-level officials are expected to participate in the meeting, the day of which has yet to be confirmed.

The two sides discussed the issue last time in Beijing in April following a vice minister-level gathering in December last year.

Beijing, however, has not responded to Seoul's proposal to hold a meeting to discuss illegal fishing by Chinese boats in the Yellow Sea. They were supposed to meet in the second half of the year, but it is likely to be delayed until next year.

Illegal fishing has been a sensitive diplomatic issue between the two countries in recent months. South Korea has toughened measures against illegal fishing in its waters since one of its patrol boats sank in October while pursuing Chinese vessels.

Observers say that the delay might have to do with the ongoing diplomatic row between South Korea and China over the Seoul government's earlier decision to deploy a U.S. anti-missile defense system on its soil. Beijing has strongly opposed the move, saying that it could hurt its national security interests. (Yonhap)

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