SOCHI, July 28 (Itar-Tass) — Cooperation in the Far East, the Peace Treaty problems and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region will be discussed at talks in Sochi on Saturday by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba. After that Russian President Vladimir Putin will receive them.
“The Japanese trend has been firmly established among the priorities of Russia’s foreign policy,” the Russian Foreign Ministry stated. “Japan is among Russia’s 10 leading economic partners.” In 2011 the bilateral trade turnover accounted for some 30 billion US dollars, and the total volume of accumulated Japanese investment in Russia exceeded 10 billion dollars.
According to experts, Russia and Japan have a major potential for the development of energy cooperation, especially in the Far East. “Implementation of projects in this sphere will allow Russia to export products with high added value and build up its industrial capacity, and Japan - to diversify energy supplies and to get additional volumes of hydrocarbons,” the RF Foreign Ministry stressed.
Another promising cooperation sphere is peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The corresponding agreement already came into force on May 3. “The document paves the way for the implementation of joint projects in such spheres as the exploration and development of uranium deposits, engineering, construction and operation of light water reactors, as well as nuclear safety,” the ministry noted.
Lavrov and Gemba will also not overlook a very sensitive issue in the bilateral relations - the territorial dispute and the peace treaty. Analysts have noted some softening of the earlier harsh public statements made in Moscow and Tokyo on the issue.
Nevertheless, the Japanese side intends to intensify negotiations with Russia on the territorial issue and has already appointed a special envoy for this purpose - former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori. Moscow’s stance is that the discussion of this topic should take place “in a calm, mutually respectful manner, and - which is crucial – against the background of the progressive development of the whole complex of bilateral relations,” the ministry said.
In the sphere of international cooperation the ministers will discuss issues of bilateral cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region “based on the relevant multilateral structures - East Asia Summits, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and the ASEAN Regional Forum on Security. “We see opportunities for cooperation with Japan in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan and the settlement of the Korean Peninsula’s nuclear issue,” the RF Foreign Ministry stressed. Given the deteriorating situation in Syria, observers do not rule out that Lavrov and Gemba will discuss in detail the possibility of Syrian settlement and the situation in the Middle East.