Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov agreed Tuesday that a pipeline project linking East Siberia and Nakhodka, a port in Russia's Far East, would benefit both countries.

Kasyanov stopped short, however, of making any commitment to prioritizing this project over an alternative route proposed by China.

During his talks with Koizumi, the Russian prime minister also said he would "step up efforts" with regard to a bilateral peace treaty, Japanese officials said.