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Prospects lie ahead for settlement of East China Sea issue
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Chinese President Hu Jintao said in Tokyo on Wednesday that prospects lie ahead for China and Japan to resolve the issue of joint exploration of oil and natural gas resources in the East China Sea.

Hu made the remarks during a joint press briefing with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda following their official talks around noon.

Hu said that based on the consensus reached by leaders of the two countries, the foreign affairs departments of the two sides have conducted in-depth consultations and have made important progress in their consultation over the issue.

"I am delighted with this," Hu said. "We have agreed to continue to speed up the consultation in order to reach an agreement at an early date," he added.

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."

President Hu is in Japan for a five-day "warm-spring" state visit, the first trip by a Chinese president to the country in a decade.

(Xinhua News Agency May 8, 2008)

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