The foreign chiefs of Japan and China reaffirmed Saturday in Busan the two countries will seek to settle a row over the ocean discharge of treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant through dialogue, the Japanese minister told reporters.

Japan's top diplomat Yoko Kamikawa, who met with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi for the first time since assuming the ministerial post in September, also said they agreed on mutual visits by the two countries' foreign ministers.

Kamikawa and Wang vowed to work together toward improving strained bilateral ties in their opening remarks made in the presence of reporters. Their meeting was held ahead of trilateral talks in the South Korean port city Sunday with South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin.

During the talks with Wang, which lasted for about an hour and 40 minutes, Kamikawa said she sought an immediate end to China's ban on seafood imports from Japan imposed over the Fukushima plant water release that began in late August.

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa (2nd from L) holds talks with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi (far R) in Busan, South Korea, on Nov. 25, 2023. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

"Recognizing there are differences in our respective positions, we have agreed to try to find ways to resolve issues through consultations and dialogue in a constructive manner" based on what was agreed between Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Chinese President Xi Jinping last week, Kamikawa said

At a summit held in San Francisco, Kishida and Xi agreed to hold expert consultations on the water release. Kamikawa said the two countries will arrange such a dialogue and discuss the issue from a scientific perspective.

In his talks with Kamikawa, Wang repeated China's opposition to releasing "nuclear-contaminated" water and criticized Japan's "irresponsible actions," according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

He emphasized a need to build "a long-term monitoring mechanism that is comprehensive, effective and independent among all stakeholders," the ministry added.

Wang called for independent monitoring of the wastewater discharge in his talks earlier this week in Beijing with Natsuo Yamaguchi, leader of Komeito, the junior partner in Japan's ruling coalition. The water release prompted Beijing to impose the seafood import ban.

As for China's request, Kamikawa said she told Wang about Japan's basic principles of respecting national sovereignty as well as the authority and independence of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has been conducting environmental monitoring in waters near the Fukushima plant.

The Japanese minister also said she has called for the early release of Japanese nationals detained in China for alleged espionage, as well as the removal of a buoy installed by Beijing within Japan's exclusive economic zone near the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

China, which claims the islands and calls them Diaoyu, repeatedly sends ships into Japanese waters around the Senkakus.

On North Korea, which launched a military spy satellite earlier this week using banned ballistic missile technology, Kamikawa and Wang agreed to keep communicating closely with each other in the international arena, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official said.

Meanwhile, Xi has sent a message of condolence to Kishida over the death earlier this month of Daisaku Ikeda, longtime leader of the lay Buddhist organization Soka Gakkai and founder of Komeito, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said Saturday.

In the message sent Thursday, Xi hailed Ikeda's important contributions to promoting bilateral exchanges and cooperation in various fields. Xi also expressed readiness to work with Kishida to promote a sound and steady development of bilateral relations along the right track, China's official Xinhua News Agency said.

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