China has informally asked Japan to extend between 400 billion yen and 450 billion yen in official yen loans between fiscal 1999 and 2000 to help finance the communist country’s infrastructure and other development projects, government sources said August 4.

The informal request comes at a time when the governments of Tokyo and Beijing are preparing for formal talks to determine the size of such low-interest loans to be provided to China during the last two years of the current five-year loan program, which began in fiscal 1996, the sources said. The official talks are expected to begin as early as autumn after Beijing submits a list of projects it hopes to implement using yen loans during the two-year period, the sources said.

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