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China sees no problem in Russia, Japan accelerating peace treaty talks, says expert

China is interested in Russia having good relations with all countries, the expert pointed out

KUALA LUMPUR /Malaysia/, November 22. /TASS/. China does not see any problems with an intensification of negotiations between Russia and Japan on the territorial issue, Zhao Huasheng, professor at the Institute of International Studies at Fudan University, told reporters on Thursday following the session of the Valdai Club.

"China is interested in Russia having good relations with all countries," the expert pointed out, answering a question about Beijing’s reaction to the Russian-Japanese talks on the territorial issue. The professor also noted that "formally speaking, there are no normal relations between Moscow and Tokyo since the peace treaty has not been signed yet."

At a meeting in Singapore on November 14, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had agreed to beef up Russian-Japanese peace treaty talks based on the 1956 Joint Declaration, in which Moscow had expressed readiness to hand Shikotan Island and a group of small uninhabited islands of the Lesser Kuril Chain (called Habomai in Japan) over to Tokyo as a gesture of goodwill. The Soviet-Japanese Joint Declaration on ending the state of war between the two countries and restoring diplomatic and consular relations was signed in Moscow on October 19, 1956. Article 9 of the document says that the Soviet government agreed to hand over Shikotan Island and several small uninhabited islands of the Lesser Kuril Chain (which Japan calls Habomai) to Japan provided that their actual transfer to Tokyo’s control would happen after a peace treaty was concluded. The two states ratified the Declaration on December 8, 1956.

However, after Japan and the United States had signed the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security in 1960, the Soviet Union withdrew its obligation to hand over the islands. A Soviet government’s memorandum dated January 27, 1960, said that those islands would only be handed over to Japan if all foreign troops were pulled out of the country.