Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, on Tuesday agreed to restart business travel between the two countries later in November, after months of discussions on reopening routes amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Tokyo also strongly demanded Beijing take "positive action" over repeated intrusions by Chinese vessels into waters around the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, Motegi said during a joint news conference with Wang.

The Chinese foreign minister stood his ground on the issue — one of the two countries' most vexing — saying that China would "continue to protect our sovereignty" over the islands, which it calls the Diaoyu. However, he also said he hoped the two sides could turn the waterway into "a 'sea of peace' ... through the joint efforts of both parties."