Japan and China envision holding a meeting in Singapore around May to discuss a maritime crisis management mechanism aimed at avoiding clashes around East China Sea islands, diplomatic sources said.

At the meeting of senior officials, the two nations will aim to agree on how the mechanism should operate, with an eye to putting it into practice by the end of the year, the sources said Friday.

In November, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to talks over a mechanism to ease tensions over the sovereignty of the Senkakus — uninhabited islets in the East China Sea controlled by Japan but also claimed by China, which calls them Diaoyu.