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Russia will never limit its sovereignty over Kuril Islands — lawmaker

November 01, 2016, 8:25 UTC+3
A senior lawmaker stresses the Kuril Islands territorial belonging may be disputable for Japan, but not for Russia
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© Vladimir Sergeev/TASS, archive

TOKYO, November 1. /TASS/. Russia will never yield to limiting its sovereignty right over the Kuril Islands, the territorial belonging of which may be viewed as disputable by Japan, but not by Russia, Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of the Federation Council (the Russian parliament’s upper house), said on Monday.

A delegation from the Federation Council, led by Matviyenko, is currently paying an official visit to Japan. The delegation’s visit is scheduled to last from October 31 to November 3. Prior to that, Matviyenko visited Sakhalin Region in Russia’s Far East, where she met with local government officials.

"As for the Kuril Islands - their (territorial) belonging may be disputable for Japan, but not for Russia," Matviyenko said. "They became our territory after the World War Two and it was registered in international documents. Therefore, Russia’s sovereignty over them is unquestionable."

"As Russian leader Vladimir Putin earlier stated we are not trading our territories," she said. "However, we are ready to search for a compromise regarding the issue of the peace treaty, which can be suitable for both sides."

According to Matviyenko, it will require "first of all, a realistic approach on behalf of our Japanese partners."

"One should realize that there are some things, which Russia would never give up its stance upon," she said. "Limiting Russia’s sovereignty over the Kuril Islands and, moreover, transferring them under the jurisdiction of Japan is one of them."

"This is the stance held not only by the Russian leadership, but by the whole nation and we have here, as we say, a complete all-national consensus," Matviyenko said.

Russia and Japan have no peace treaty signed after World War II. The settlement of this problem inherited by Russia’s diplomacy from the Soviet Union is hampered by the years-long dispute over the four islands of Russia’s Southern Kurils Shikotan, Khabomai, Iturup and Kunashir, which Japan calls its northern territories.

Negative dynamics in Russia-Japan trade 

The lawmaker went on to say that negative dynamics in trade and economic cooperation between Russia and Japan raises concerns.

"We are concerned with the negative dynamics in trade and economic cooperation between Russia and Japan," Matviyenko told journalists. "The main reason behind it is Japan’s involvement in a number of anti-Russian sanctions, imposed by Western countries, as well as the unstable global economic situation."

"Whatever areas of cooperation we speak about - the work on preparing the peace treaty or expanding our economic cooperation - the most important thing in all these areas is to build the atmosphere of trust between our countries and our peoples," she said.

"We see that our Japanese partners and business are not satisfied as well with the decrease in the volume of economic relations," Matviyenko said.

The Federation Council speaker stressed that there are possibilities to overcome the current situation and restore the positive dynamics of bilateral trade and economic cooperation. "I believe that Japan’s companies and investors may make a sizable contribution, for example, in fulfilling Russia’s plans on the development of Siberia and the Far East."

"We are interested in implementing joint projects with the Japanese businesses in car manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and medical industry, in the sphere of high technologies and infrastructure," she said.

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