Leaders pledge to conduct joint economic activities on islands
MOSCOW－Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday discussed a post-World War II peace treaty and agreed to keep on searching for solutions to related issues, according to the Kremlin.
"During the talks we discussed issues related to the peace treaty. We feel it important to continue a patient search for a solution which would meet the strategic interests of both Russia and Japan and would be acceptable for the people of both countries," Putin said in a press statement following talks with Abe, which was published on the Kremlin"s website.
Both Russia and Japan claim a group of islands off Japan"s northern prefecture of Hokkaido, called the Northern Territories in Japan and the Southern Kurils in Russia.
The territorial spat has prevented the two countries from signing a peace treaty and hindered their diplomatic and trade relations.
In September 2017, Putin and Abe agreed to conduct joint economic activities on the controversial islands and selected several projects in aquaculture, electrical power, creation of greenhouse facilities, garbage disposal, and the development of package tours.
According to the statement, the two leaders reviewed the implementation of the agreements on joint economic activities on the islands and are satisfied with the state of dialogue in the five fields.
"We also supported a proposal on sending the third Japanese business mission to the islands in the second half of the year. We will keep addressing problems related to the humanitarian part of the matter, and we will assist Japanese citizens in visiting the islands," Putin said.
Putin also hailed the steady progress in Russia-Japan cooperation, citing good performance of mutual trade and investment, constant political dialogue, interactions among ministries, regions and agencies, amicable humanitarian relations, as well as joint projects in various fields.
In addition, the two leaders touched on international problems including the issue of the Korean Peninsula, reiterating their interest in preserving peace in the region.
"We believe that the process participants should show restraint, avoid a new cycle of confrontation and hold the situation within the political and diplomatic field," Putin said.
"We believe it is important to patiently continue the search for a solution that would satisfy the interests of Russia and Japan and that would be accepted by the nations of both countries," Putin said at a news conference following the talks.
He added that Russia would "assist" in allowing Japanese citizens to visit the Kuril islands.
"Solving (the dispute) is not easy but we would like to end it within the lifetime of our generation," Abe said.
He added that Tokyo was "thankful" to Moscow for allowing Japanese citizens to visit the graves of relatives on the islands.
Earlier, Abe said he hoped for a "new breakthrough" in settling the territorial dispute over the Kuril Islands and that he was "ready to reinforce cooperation in a calm but energetic manner."
The summit is the latest attempt to draw a line under World War II since Japan and the Soviet Union began discussions in 1956.