Japan and South Korea will hold working-level fisheries talks next Thursday and Friday in a bid to conclude negotiations before President Kim Dae Jung’s planned trip to Japan in the fall, Foreign Ministry officials said Friday.

Differences still remain between the two countries, but Japan hopes to resolve such differences as early as possible, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Sadaaki Numata said. Numata declined to elaborate on the differences.

Japan and South Korea have been seeking a new treaty to replace the 1965 pact since they ratified the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1996. The convention allows the two countries to set exclusive 200-nautical-mile economic zones around their shores.

Demarcation of such zones, however, has proved difficult due to a bilateral territorial dispute over the ownership of a group of islets in the Sea of Japan, known as Takeshima in Japan and Tok-do in South Korea.

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