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Return to 1956 declaration implies no transfer of Russian territories to Japan - Peskov

According to the Kremlin spokesman the sides will reach a compromise that will not run counter to their interests
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov Mikhail Metzel/TASS
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov
© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

MOSCOW, November 18. /TASS/. The return to the 1956 Joint Declaration in the Russia-Japan peace treaty talks in no way implies an automatic transfer of Russian territories to the Japanese side, Russian president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Sunday.

"Over these days we have heard a great variety of different speculations, political guesses about some sort of a separate deal on the transfer of the islands and so on. This is not true and cannot be true," he told the Moscow. Kremlin. Putin program of the Rossiya-1 television channel, commenting on the Russian-Japanese agreement to continue the peace treaty talks on the basis of the 1956 declaration.

"Can we say that it means automatic transference of any territories? Absolutely no. This is what President [of Russia Vladimir] Putin was saying when he answered journalists’ question," Peskov said.

According to the Kremlin spokesman, the sides will reach a compromise that will not run counter to their interests. "Naturally, a compromise will be needed. We can say it already now that this compromise will not be in conflict with the national interests of either of the sides," he said. "Obviously, having such a vast experience, Russia cannot ignore Japan’s allied relations with other countries, first of all, with the United States. It is taken into account during the talks and this matter will need a solution."

"Despite the complexity of the topic of the peace treaty with Japan, this problem can be settled. Such difficult problems are solvable all the same, and the experience of territorial talks with China is a good example of that," Peskov stressed.

After Putin’s meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Singapore, Peskov told journalists that the two leaders had agreed to intensify the peace treaty talks on the basis on the 1956 declaration.

Since the mid-20th century, Russia and Japan have been negotiating a peace treaty after World War II. The main stumbling block to this is the issue of the ownership of the southern Kuril Islands. After the end of World War II, all Kuril Islands were incorporated into the Soviet Union. However, Japan challenged the ownership of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan islands and a number of uninhibited islands of the Lesser Kuril Ridge called the Habomai Islands in Japan.

In 1956, the Soviet Union and Japan signed a joint declaration on ceasing the state of war. The two countries resumed diplomatic and other relations, however no peace treaty has been signed until now. The Soviet Union committed to paper in the declaration its readiness to hand over Shikotan, Habomai and a number of uninhibited small islands to Japan as a gesture of good will after the peace treaty is ultimately signed.

However following Japan’s signing a security treaty with the United States in 1060, the former Soviet Union revoked its liabilities concerning the transference of islands. The Soviet government said back then that the islands would be handed over to Japan only when all foreign forces were withdrawn from its territory.