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Russia and Japan may discuss military division deployment to Kurils at 2+2 talks

Moscow may also outline its vision on solving the problems on the Korean Peninsula by peaceful means
Bastion coastal defence missile system (right) Yuri Smityuk/TASS
Bastion coastal defence missile system (right)
© Yuri Smityuk/TASS

MOSCOW, March 17. /TASS/. The issue of deploying a division of Russia’s Defense Ministry to the Kuril Islands may be raised at the forthcoming 2+2 ministerial talks between Russia and Japan, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov said in an interview with Japan’s Jiji Press news agency.

"If Tokyo has questions about this, then I think they may be discussed during the upcoming 2+2 talks," Morgulov said. "But the partners should be ready to provide explanations on Japan's military construction as the Russian side also has questions on this."

Last year, Russia deployed its Bastion and Bal coastal missile systems to the southern Kuril Islands of Iturup and Kunashir. In 2015, the Tor-M2U anti-missile systems were put on combat duty there. Moscow is currently mulling over the establishment of the Pacific Fleet’s naval base in the Greater Kuril Ridge. In November 2016, Russian Presidential Spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that the deployment of Russia’s missile systems to the Kuril Islands was well founded, but this should not affect the talks with Tokyo, even regarding a peace treaty.

Moscow may also outline its vision on solving the problems of the Korean Peninsula by peaceful means at the meeting due to be held on March 20 in Tokyo, Morgulov said.

The common goal is to "create a stable mechanism of peace that would give firm security guarantees to all countries in the region without any exception," he noted. "The upcoming talks will provide a good opportunity to outline our approaches to these issues for our Japanese partners."

Moscow is seriously concerned about the situation in the region as "factors of instability are unfortunately growing," Morgulov explained.

"We request that the situation be examined as a whole in order to break the vicious circle when responding to North Korea’s missile and nuclear tests, the US and its allies take steps to enhance drills and other military activity which in its turn prods Pyongyang into taking new agitative actions," he stressed.

Tokyo will host a meeting between the Russian and Japanese foreign and defense ministers on March 20 in the 2+2 format. The agreement on this was reached at the talks between Russian and Japanese top diplomats, Sergey Lavrov and Fumio Kishida, on the sidelines of the G20 ministerial meeting in Germany’s Bonn in February.

A previous similar meeting was held in November 2013. After that, the meetings were suspended due to the crisis in Ukraine and Tokyo’s move to join the Western sanctions imposed on Russia. The decision to resume the 2+2 consultations was made as a result of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Japan last December.