President Hu Jintao said on Sunday that he believed the issue of joint exploration of oil and natural gas resources in the East China Sea, lying between China and Japan, could be resolved.
Hu made the remarks during an interview with reporters from 16 Japanese media institutions stationed in Beijing, ahead of his coming state visit to Japan from May 6 to 10.
"I believe, with joint efforts, we can definitely find a solution accepted by both sides and the issue can undoubtedly be resolved properly," said Hu.
He said China attaches great importance to the issue and has made great efforts to resolve it. He said that the foreign ministries of both countries have had in-depth, useful consultations in accordance with the consensus of both countries' leaders and had made real progress.
China and Japan announced a consensus on the East China Sea issue in a joint press communique issued after talks between Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and then Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during Wen's visit to Japan in April 2007.
According to the communique, the two sides said they were committed to efforts to make the East China Sea a "sea of peace, cooperation and friendship."
The two sides would conduct joint development in accordance with the principle of mutual benefit as a temporary arrangement, pending the completion of a demarcation of sea borders. They agreed to conduct joint development in a "relatively wide area" that is acceptable to both sides.
China and Japan have held 11 rounds of negotiations on the East China sea issue.
(Xinhua News Agency May 5, 2008)