Putin: Peace treaty first, N. islands later

Frederick Owens
September 14, 2018

For the past several years Putin and Abe have been discussing ways to solve the longstanding dispute, including making the four most southern of the Kuril Islands, which Japan calls the Northern Territories, a joint economic zone.

Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed Wednesday that Russia and Japan sign a peace treaty by the end of the year without preconditions.

The top government spokesman also said Japan will not change its position of seeking to resolve the issue of the islands' sovereignty, before concluding the peace treaty with Russian Federation. In 1956, Japan and the Soviet Union agreed to end "the state of war" and restore diplomatic relations.

Xi and Putin, in a show of the great importance they attach to the traditional friendship between the two peoples, made time to attend bilateral people-to-people exchange activities, Wang said.

Putin was also late for a December 2016 summit in Japan, arriving three hours later than scheduled. When asked if he was concerned about a potential military alliance between Russian Federation and China in the future, U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said he did not see the two countries aligned in the long-term."I think that nations act out of their interest".

Putin and Abe have held numerous meetings over the past few years in a bid to solve the dispute over the islands.

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Putin said the conclusion of such a deal would create a better atmosphere and allow Russian Federation and Japan to "continue to solve all outstanding issues like friends".

Prime Minister Lee thanked President Putin for Russia's support towards establishing permanent peace and denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, and said that the South Korean government was doing its best to implement what was agreed in June, between Presidents Moon Jae-in and Putin, including the "nine bridges" of cooperation between South Korea and Russian Federation.

As Donald Trump continues to up the ante on a trade war, with the U.S. president recently threatening to place tariffs on all Chinese exports to the United States, Beijing is moving to further solidify its already-close partnership with Russian Federation. "We have been negotiating for 70 years", Putin said. Abe smiled at the suggestion.

Russian and Japanese Foreign Ministry officials said that work on a future agreement would continue as usual, and a Japanese official made clear that Tokyo wants an agreement on possession of the islands before it will sign a peace treaty.

"This stance hasn't changed", he added.

Experts have to "conduct a thorough study of the possible economic output" of the project, Abe said.

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