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MOSCOW, December 12. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Japan, scheduled for December 15-16, will not settle the territorial dispute, but will improve bilateral relations, Russian experts concurred on Monday at a news conference on Russian-Japanese relations.
"The visit will be used to disprove the point of view that Russia is allegedly pursuing a pro-Chinese policy in the region," the director of the Institute for Far Eastern Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences said.
"On the contrary, the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Japan confirms flexibility and independence of the Russian foreign policy. This visit will not solve the territorial problem, but it won’t worsen it either, and will improve bilateral relations," Sergey Luzyanin said.
The head of the Institute’s center for Japanese studies, Valery Kistanov, believes "issues of economic cooperation as well as the development of mutually advantageous cooperation in other spheres will be in the focus".
"In all appearances, we can hardly expect a breakthrough (on the disputed Kuril Islands) at that meeting," he believes. "The positions of the sides on the issue of the islands differ strongly," the expert said.
In reply to reporters’ query whether he admitted in principle the return of the islands to Japan, Kistanov said "theoretically I admit this, but practically this is absolutely ruled out".
"Everything revolves around what could be a possible compromise," he went on. "Evidently, a certain formula of how we will move further in the settlement of that issue will be worked through during a meeting of the Japanese and Russian leaders," Kistanov said.
He said having a certain road map worked out for the settlement of the row and the signing of a peace treaty would be a good result of the talks.
Kistanov also expressed hope that the package of documents scheduled for the signing in Tokyo on December 16 will help reverse the trend towards a decline in mutual trade.