TOKYO, March 20. /TASS/. On Monday, Russian top diplomat Sergey Lavrov will participate in the two-plus-two meeting of the Russian and Japanese foreign and defense ministers scheduled to be held in Japan’s capital of Tokyo. The new ministerial meeting will take place in accordance with the agreement reached during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Japan in December 2016. The first two-plus-two meeting was held in November 2013.
The Russian foreign minister will also hold talks with his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida, the parties are expected to consider the implementation of the agreements made during high-level meetings as well as the schedule of further contacts, including those between the two countries’ leaders.
According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Lavrov’s visit to Tokyo is particularly aimed at paving the way for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Russia.
Moscow believes it important to use the two-plus-two format "to thoroughly discuss global and regional issues with Tokyo." "We plan to clarify Russia’s principal position on setting up new security system in the Asian-Pacific region based on non-bloc approaches and respect for the regional countries’ concerns," the Russian foreign ministry said. "Confidence-building measures in the defense and security sphere will also be discussed, in addition, we well express our views on the deployment of the US missile defense systems to Japan."
Besides, the parties will also assess the possibilities to boost joint efforts to fight international terrorism and drug trafficking.
The two countries will continue working on bilateral projects based on the eight-point cooperation plan proposed by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as well as Russia’s proposals. "We are confident that the implementation of these projects will facilitate the development of bilateral economic relations and provide an opportunity to increase the trade turnover," the Russian foreign ministry noted.
On March 18, Tokyo hosted a meeting between the two countries’ deputy foreign ministers who discussed plans concerning joint economic activities on the South Kuril Islands.
"A package of proposals has been formed involving a wide range of projects important for the economic development of the South Kuril Islands, aimed at the implementation of large-scale projects," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov said in an interview with Japan’s Jiji Press news agency. "Of course, we believe that all these projects can only be implemented if they are consistent with the Russian law."
During the December summit, Russia and Japan announced that any agreements concerning joint economic activities would not damage the two countries’ positions on the peace treaty issue.
According to the Russian President Vladimir Putin, a solution to the issue needs to be found that "would meet the strategic interests of both Russia and Japan and could be accepted by the two countries’ peoples." The Russian leader added that the absence of a peace treaty between Moscow and Tokyo was an anachronism. According to Putin, "resolving the problem of the peace treaty will require painstaking work to bolster mutual confidence and all-round development of the Russian-Japanese relations."
Meanwhile, Japan has been trying to link the peace treaty problem with the territorial issue.
"The so-called Declaration, the only document signed and ratified by both countries in 1956, stipulates that a peace treaty should come first, notwithstanding any final agreements concerning the islands," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier. "The document says that first, a peace treaty should be singed and after that, two of the southern islands could be handed over to Japan as a gesture of goodwill."
The Declaration does not mention that the territorial issue would be considered during peace treaty talks, the Russian top diplomat added. The document particularly says: "The USSR and Japan agree to continue peace treaty talks after normal diplomatic relations are restored."
New consultations involving the Russian and Japanese deputy foreign ministers will be held on March 30 in Tokyo.