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Russia, Japan to discuss peace treaty
August 19, 2013, 5:15 am

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

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

Russia and Japan are set to discuss the historic territorial dispute between the two sides in an official meet in Moscow on Monday.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov and his Japanese counterpart Shinsuke Sugiyama plan to discuss bilateral and international cooperation, including a peace treaty and economic collaboration, according to reports in state media outlet NHK.

In April, 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 Monday’s talks.

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 this year amid fears that this may undermine Japan’s claims on the islands.

The Japanese government is keen on accelerating talks on the territorial issue, according to reports in NHK.

In recent months, Russia and Japan have stepped up high-level talks between the two sides to find a resolution.

During their meeting in Moscow in late April, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to resume negotiations on a peace treaty.

Abe also met Putin on the sidelines of the G8 Summit on June 17-18 to discuss ties.

The islands will also be high on the agenda during Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s visit to Japan later this year.

Japan is also locked in a territorial dispute with China over the Diaoyu islands, known as the Senkaku islands in Japan.

Over the last ten years bilateral trade between Russia and Japan has increased eight-fold and reached $31 billion and the total accumulated Japanese investment in the Russian economy reached $10.7 billion by the end of last year.

 

With inputs from Agencies 

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