China and Japan opened talks on Friday on their dispute over gas exploration rights in the East China Sea in a bid to achieve a resolution.
The Foreign Ministry said in a press statement the two sides expressed ideas to resolve the issue in a formal and informal way. Further negotiations will be held next month.
Hu Zhengyue, director of the Asian Affairs Department of the Foreign Ministry, and Kenichiro Sasae, head of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, chaired the meeting on behalf of their teams.
Both sides stressed the importance of the talks as it was the first to be held following Premier Wen Jiabao's ice-thawing visit to Japan last month during which the East China Sea issue was brought up.
The two countries reached consensus on speeding up efforts to work out a joint development proposal for "relatively large waters, which is acceptable for both sides" and reporting measures on the joint development to the leaders of the two countries this fall.
Calling the talks "a new beginning" for both sides, Hu said China is ready to make joint efforts with Japan to push forward consultations.
Sasae was quoted as saying on his arrival in Beijing on Thursday that the Japanese side hoped to hear "positive and specific views" presented by China during the talks.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said on Thursday that China wanted to promote the negotiation process and achieve a joint development plan at an early date, and reiterated China's opposition to a demarcation line proposed by Japan.
She said China has not and will never accept the median line and will not accept the median line as the basis for discussing joint development.
(China Daily May 26, 2007)