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MOSCOW, June 15. /TASS/. It is premature to talk about Russia’s joint economic activity with Japan on the Kuril Islands, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.
"We proceed from the fact that joint work on the islands is possible and our attitude to this is that we should create favorable conditions for resolving territorial problems," Putin told journalists after an annual televised question and answer session.
According to him, "We don’t know yet the form, which final decisions will take." "But it is generally impossible to do anything without creating relevant conditions, which should envisage building up trust," he stressed.
The Russian leader noted that there were also issues related to joint work with Japan on the islands, which complicated the problem.
"Namely, these are the issues of security provision, including in that region, Japan’s obligations to its allies," Putin said.
In Putin’s estimate, "these are all delicate issues, which require a careful and weighed approach as they are considered."
"Depending on how this work will proceed, a final decision will be made [on the joint economic activity] and it is still premature to talk about this," the Russian president 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.
After World War II, in September 1945, Japan signed its capitulation, and in February 1946, the Kuril Islands were declared territories of the Soviet Union.
During the Cold War, Moscow did not recognize the territorial problem, but in October 1993, when Russian President Boris Yeltsin was on an official visit in Japan, the existence of the problem was confirmed officially. However, the two countries have reached no compromise over the dispute yet.