Russia's Putin tells Japan's Abe: 'Let's sign peace deal this year'

Mae Love
September 13, 2018

The Russian leader, whose tardiness has become legendary, kept Abe waiting during a Russia-Japan summit at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on Monday, Kyodo News and Yomiuri Shimbun reported.

A treaty without preconditions would leave Russian Federation in control of the disputed islands, which Russian Federation calls the Southern Kuriles and Japan calls the Northern Territories.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appeared open to a treaty, saying it was "not normal" that one still hasn't been signed after seven decades.

But a Japanese government spokesman said Japan's position had not changed and that the issue of sovereignty over the islands needed to be resolved before signing any treaties with Russian Federation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted China's Xi Jinping in Vladivostok - as well as the Japanese and South Korean leaders - at the three-day Eastern Economic Forum.

Later in the same session, Putin said of his offer: "I was not joking".

Should the dispute finally be put to an end, Russian Federation and Japan could formally sign a peace agreement - 71 years after the end of the World War II.

Protectionism and unilateralism are rearing their heads in global politics and the states of northeast Asia should work together to counter the trend, Chinese President Xi Jinping says.

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Mr Putin and Mr Abe have held numerous meetings over the past few years in a bid to solve the dispute over the islands. "Putin does not expect anything", Kunadze told the Echo of Moscow radio station.

He also made clear that they should fight unilateralism and trade protectionism worldwide, .in an apparent response to the Trump administration's trade policies.

Relations between China and Japan soured in 2012 over a territorial dispute over several tiny islands in the East China Sea. "Okay", Putin said, before proposing they sign a peace treaty. "This stance hasn't changed".

The strategic guidance by and close contact between the heads of state of China and Russian Federation serve as powerful engines for the development of bilateral relations, Wang said.

Prime Minister Abe has mounted a serious diplomatic initiative to have the Kuril Islands returned to Japanese sovereignty.

"It seems that this would facilitate the solution of all problems which we have not been able to solve during the past 70 years", Putin added.

The Kurils, which lie north of Japan's Hokkaido island, have been controlled by Moscow since they were seized by Soviet troops in the dying days of World War II.

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