RealNews

Russia, Japan fail to make progress in peace talks

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi failed to make progress in a testy territorial dispute, only confirming their duty to solve the decades-long row. The two leaders held a meeting at a Santiago hotel shortly after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum ended a two-day summit here. “We spoke frankly about the positive advances in our relations as much as about unresolved questions, notably the peace accord,” Putin said following the meeting with Koizumi. “Unfortunately, we did not get any closer to an agreement on that question,” he said. The issue of the Kuril islands, which were seized by Soviet troops in 1945, has prevented the two nations from signing a post-war peace treaty and restricted Japanese investment in Russia. “It is a strategic benefit for both of the countries to develop the Japan-Russia relations by signing a peace treaty,” Koizumi told Putin. “It is the two leaders’ responsibility to tackle this historical subject.” Putin agreed with the Japanese leader, saying: “I understand that it is necessary for us to solve the territorial issue and sign a peace treaty.” But the two leaders stopped short of mentioning a potential compromise to return two of the four islands just off northern Japan, whose Japanese residents were expelled after the Soviet takeover. Full Story

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