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Tokyo-hosted 2+2 talks indicate Japan’s intention to boost dialogue — Lavrov

March 20, 2017, 8:19 UTC+3

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida has also expressed readiness to discuss joint economic activities on the South Kuril Islands

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TOKYO, March 20. /TASS/. The meeting between the Russian and Japanese foreign and defense ministers indicates the two countries’ willingness to take dialogue to a new level, Russian top diplomat said at the two-plus-two meeting.

"The resumption of dialogue, agreed on during the Russian president’s visit to Japan in December 2016, indicates our mutual willingness to take relations to a new level, build mutual confidence and boost cooperation to solve regional and global security issues," Lavrov said.

Moscow believes that "such dialogue is in the interests of both countries as it can play an important role in ensuring stability in the Asian-Pacific region," the Russian foreign minister added.

"We are ready for a trust-based dialogue," Lavrov stressed. 

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida has also expressed readiness to discuss joint economic activities on the South Kuril Islands with his Russian counterpart .

"Taking into account the recent consultations on this issue that were held in Tokyo, I expect that we will discuss joint economic activities," Kishida said opening talks with Lavrov. He added that since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Japan in December 2016, the parties had been taking active steps to develop bilateral relations while his current meeting with Lavrov was their second one in 2017. 

Abe's possible visit 

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to visit Russia as soon as possible in 2017, Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters.

"Taking into consideration the possibility of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s early visit to Russia this year, I expect that we will have a meaningful conversation on a wide range of issues today," he said.

Russia and Japan have recently stepped up dialogue. In 2016, the Japanese prime minister visited Russia twice: in May he met with Putin in Russia’s southern city of Sochi while in September he participated in the Eastern Economic Forum held in Russia’s Far Eastern city of Vladivostok. On January 25, the Russian presidential spokesman said that in 2017, Abe planned to visit Russia twice, particularly intending to take part in the next Eastern Economic Forum.

In December 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Japan and held talks with Abe. The parties exchanged views on the peace treaty issue and economic projects. In addition, the two countries’ strategic partnership was also discussed. In particular, the two leaders highlighted the importance of resuming previously frozen ties, including the two-plus-two meetings involving foreign and defense ministers.

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