Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said in Beijing on Wednesday that he hoped to make the East China Sea "a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation."
Wen made the remarks in response to a question on the East China Sea issue during a joint interview with 16 Japanese news organizations ahead of his Japan tour slated for April 11 to 13.
The East China Sea issue is of key concern to both countries, Wen said.
To resolve this issue, he added, China had proposed the principle of shelving disputes and making joint exploration.
"I hope the two sides can actively pursue consultation on this issue and seek solutions accepted by both sides," he said.
China and Japan held their seventh round of talks on the East China Sea in Tokyo late March. "These discussions are positive and we are glad that they are taking place," the premier said.
"Getting things started is always difficult, but if we work together, we believe a significant step can be taken towards the peaceful solution of these disputes," Wen said.
(Xinhua News Agency April 5, 2007)