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Japan and China have agreed to seek an early conclusion of talks on a treaty over joint gas field development in the East China Sea, the Foreign Ministry said.

In the first round of negotiations, held Tuesday in Tokyo, the two sides explained their positions on the implementation of a June 2008 accord designed to resolve the dispute over gas exploration, under which they are to jointly tap an area near the gas field known as Longjing in China and as Asunaro in Japan.

Japanese companies are also to invest in the development of the Chunxiao gas field. The envisioned treaty is expected to reflect the 2008 agreement.

The two nations agreed to hold the second round of negotiations in Beijing in the fall and fix a specific date for the meeting through diplomatic channels, according to the ministry.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan also voiced hope for an early conclusion of the treaty talks.

“It’s very great that we’ve managed to start,” Kan said. “It would be even more welcome if we can achieve an early conclusion (of the talks).”

Sources said China proposed resolving the issue of Japanese investment in the Chunxiao gas field first, whereas Japan favors comprehensive settlement of the investment and the joint development of the Longjing field.

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