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China has indicated that it plans to send senior officials to Japan early next year to exchange information on the construction of a high-speed train system between Beijing and Shanghai, a Transport Ministry official said Wednesday.

During the day’s meeting with Vice Transport Minister for International Affairs Katsuji Doi in Beijing, Chinese officials said they hope Railways Minister Fu Zhi-huan or Vice Railways Minister Sun Yongfu will be dispatched to inspect Japan’s latest bullet train system, the official told reporters in Tokyo.

In early 1999, China is expected to formally approve the project to enable a maximum seven-hour commute between the two cities, which are 1,300 km apart. The trip currently takes 15 hours.

China is expected to choose a partner for the project through an international contract tender. Japan, Germany and France have expressed interest in the construction, which is to begin as early as 2000.

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