South Korea and Japan on April 30 concluded the first round of resumed negotiations to hammer out a new fisheries pact, but made little significant progress.

The exchange of views April 29 and April 30 was “earnest and honest,” Foreign Ministry officials said. But the two side apparently avoided discussing details of provisional fisheries waters around disputed islets in the Sea of Japan, fearing the issue might lead to another breakdown in talks.

Tokyo raised the matter of protecting marine resources in the Sea of Japan, while Seoul stressed the importance of maintaining the amount of catches allowed, the officials said.

South Korea acknowledged the importance of preserving resources but said it should not affect its allowable catches, the officials said.

Negotiations have been suspended since late January, when Tokyo said it would unilaterally terminate the 1965 fisheries pact. The two sides have been seeking a new pact since ratifying in 1996 the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, which allows them to set 200 nautical-mile exclusive economic zones.

Their dispute centers on the Takeshima islets in the Sea of Japan, known as Tok-do in South Korea.

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