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Abe, Putin discuss upgrading economic activity on Kurils
May 26, 2018, 9:11 pm

A peace treaty, including resolution of the Kuril Islands dispute, has eluded both countries [Image: PPIO]


Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that finalizing a peace treaty with Japan would be in the best interests of both countries.
His statement came shortly after meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who is in St Petersburg. Russia to attend the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) but flew to Moscow to meet with the Russian president.

“We believe it important to keep looking patiently for solutions [to the peace treaty] which should meet strategic interests of both Russia and Japan and would be accepted by the two countries’ peoples,” Putin said in remarks carried by the Russian news agency TASS.

The talks focused on joint economic activity on the southern Kuril Islands.

Abe has previously said that joint economic activity between Tokyo and Moscow on the disputed South Kurils Islands will help both countries reach a peace treaty.

A peace treaty has eluded both countries ever since Russian troops seized four Japanese islands – known as Kuril (or Kurilskiye Ostrova in Russian) – in the summer of 1945.

The four disputed islands – Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai – were occupied by Soviet forces at the end of the war and are today home to thousands of Russian civilians.

There have been stumbling blocks which hindered resolution of the dispute in the past. Russia says it wants to sign a peace treaty before resolving the Kuril Islands dispute.

Japan, on the other hand, wants the islands issue resolved before agreeing to sign a peace treaty.

“The Japanese and the Russians will be able to reap the fruits of the joint work on the islands,” Abe told Putin on Saturday.

“If we cooperate, we can achieve great results that bring mutual benefit.”

“We are already advancing work on collaborative agricultural activities on four islands and humanitarian measures for former inhabitants of the islands,” Abe added.

“Solving (the dispute) is not easy but we would like to end it within the lifetime of our generation.”
The two leaders also discussed denuclearisation of North Korea.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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