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Putin-Abe meet likely during APEC summit
October 3, 2014, 7:25 am

Abe is struggling to maintain a balancing act as he tries to consolidate ties with Putin while toeing the Group of Seven (G7) line on Russian sanctions [PPIO]

Abe (seen here in a file photo with Putin) is struggling to maintain a balancing act as he tries to consolidate ties with Putin while toeing the Group of Seven (G7) line on Russian sanctions [PPIO]

Days after imposing new sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he could hold bilateral talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum) summit in Beijing in November.

The two leaders are expected to discuss bilateral and international cooperation, including a peace treaty and economic collaboration.

Abe is struggling to maintain a balancing act as he tries to consolidate ties with Putin while toeing the Group of Seven (G7) line on Russian sanctions. Putin had spoken to the Japanese Premier on his 60th birthday last month, said a Kremlin statement.

Since taking office in December 2012 Abe has met with Putin five times, including during Russia’s opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi earlier this year.

Abe is also eyeing more natural gas imports from Russia following Japan’s shutdown of its nuclear power plants after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Bilateral trade increased by 6 per cent in 2013.

In April last year, Russia and Japan had set up a joint investment platform of $1 billion as a new instrument to boost bilateral investment, with a major focus on Russia’s Far East and Eastern Siberia.

Cooperation in oil and gas spheres and joint development of East Siberia are high on the agenda of a Putin-Abe meet in November.

Russian-Japanese relations have been strained by a long-running territorial dispute over a set of islands in the north Pacific that Russia call the ‘Southern Kurils’ and Japan call the ‘Northern Territories’.

The four disputed islands – Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai – were occupied by Soviet forces at the end of World War II and are still claimed by Japan.

Owing to the dispute, the two states never signed a permanent peace treaty following the end of World War II.

Russia’s proposal for operating joint projects in the disputed islands was turned down by Japan in July last year amid fears that this may undermine Japan’s claims on the islands.

 

 TBP 

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