Tokyo and Beijing announced Wednesday they have agreed on a plan to jointly develop gas fields in the East China Sea, shelving a thorny dispute that has plagued relations for four years.

The project covers gas fields located near the Japan-drawn median line demarcating the exclusive economic zone border between the countries. Beijing has claimed, however, that its EEZ runs to the edge of the continental shelf near Okinawa and would include Taiwan and the Japan-controlled Senkaku islets.

With the deal, the two countries have effectively shelved their dispute over the EEZ border concerning gas field development, while still technically maintaining their own claims over that border.