Gas exploration talks between Japan and China over a disputed area in the East China Sea will be held next Tuesday, Japan's Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

The key issue of the next talk, the ninth in a series, will be on the joint development of gas fields there, according to the ministry. While there is agreement that the countries will develop the fields, there is no agreement yet about where exploration will take place.

In a statement, the ministry said Japan will be represented by Kenichiro Sasae, head of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau and Harufumi Mochizuki, director general of the Natural Resources and Energy agency while China's representative will be Hu Zhengyue, head of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Asian Affairs Department.

The previous round of talks was held in Beijing last month, but no formal proposal on how to resolve the dispute was suggested.

The dispute arises from unsettled economic zone disputes which are still unresolved under a U.N. convention both countries have agreed to.

While the U.N. has until May of 2009 to decide the matter, both countries have been moving ahead with talks since 2004.