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Russian and Japanese foreign ministers to discuss peace treaty in Moscow

September 21, 2015, 8:49 UTC+3

The problem of the southern Kuril Islands is the key obstacle to a complete normalization of the Russian-Japanese ties and the signing of a peace treaty

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© Gennady Khamelyanin/TASS Archive

MOSCOW, September 21. /TASS/. Russian and Japanese foreign ministers Sergey Lavrov and Fumio Kishida will on Monday discuss in Moscow issues relating to the negotiating process on striking a peace treaty between the two countries.

The ministers will also exchange opinions on an entire range of issues on the bilateral agenda.

"The Russian side clearly underscores that progress in that issue is impossible should Japan refuse to recognize the postwar historical realities," the Russian Foreign Ministry reported Sunday.

"I expect complicated talks on the problem of the Northern Territories [the way Japan calls Russia’s southern Kuril Islands], but I hope to find a key to resumption of dialogue on striking a peace treaty," Kishida told journalists before departure. "I also hope it will become the next step for President [Vladimir Putin]’s visit to Japan."

The Russian ministry said development of mutually beneficial cooperation between Russia and Japan is not only in line with the long-term interests of the two countries but is also positive for ensuring security and stability in the Asia Pacific region.

"But the potential of Russian-Japanese interaction is far from fully realized," it said. "We hope the talks in Moscow will give the required impetus to joint work to rectify the current difficult situation in bilateral relations, whose atmosphere was seriously affected when Tokyo joined the anti-Russian sanctions on the part of some Western countries over the situation in Ukraine."

The problem of the southern Kuril Islands is the key obstacle to a complete normalization of the Russian-Japanese ties and the signing of a peace treaty. After the Second World War, all Kuril Islands were made part of the Soviet Union. But Japan does not agree that the islands of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and the Habomai island group belong to Russia. Tokyo calls the islands "Northern Territories".

Kishida’s visit is called upon to open the way to a series of diversified bilateral meetings, one of the key tasks of which is activation of business interaction with emphasis on boosting investment cooperation, as well as cooperation in fuel and energy, infrastructure, agriculture, medicine and other spheres, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

During his visit to Moscow, Kishida will also attend the XI meeting of the Russian-Japanese intergovernmental commission on trade and economic issues as its co-chairman.

"Russian-Japanese trade-economic cooperation is mutually beneficial and should be a ‘locomotive’ for development of relations between our countries," the ministry said. It stated a certain decline in the volume of bilateral trade turnover over the first half of 2015 (by about 25%).

The Russian ministry also noted that Lavrov and Kishida plan to pay special attention to problems of bilateral cooperation to contribute to ensuring global and regional security.

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