Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida vowed Monday to move Sino-Japanese ties into "a new era" when he heads later this week to Beijing, where the contentious South China Sea dispute is expected to top the agenda in his meetings with Chinese officials.

"Through candid dialogue with the Chinese side I hope to get the gears moving to establish a Japan-China relationship that is appropriate for the new era," Kishida said in a speech in Tokyo. "I hope the Chinese side will cooperate in a positive manner."

He plans to meet Foreign Minister Wang Yi during his trip that starts Friday.