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

The talks will be held in advance of a meeting between Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura and his South Korean counterpart, Hong Soon Yung, who will visit Japan beginning Thursday. Japan and South Korea have been seeking to replace a 1965 fisheries treaty since 1996 when they ratified the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, which allows them to set exclusive 200-nautical-mile economic zones around their shores.

Demarcation of the zones, however, has proved difficult due to a territorial dispute over a group of islets in the Sea of Japan, which are known as Takeshima in Japan and Tok-do in South Korea. Komura has said that a political decision may be necessary to conclude the negotiations.

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