Japanese, Russian Leaders to Discuss Territorial Dispute

Japanese, Russian Leaders to Discuss Territorial Dispute

Protesters demanding return of disputed islands claimed by both Japan and Russia, called the Northern Territories in Japan and the Southern Kuriles in Russia, march under ginkgo trees in Tokyo, Dec. 1, 2016. Russian President Vladimir Putin will begin a visit to Japan Dec.15.


TOKYO —

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet at a hot spring resort Thursday, seeking progress on a territorial row that has prevented their countries from signing a peace treaty formally ending World War II.

The two sides are likely to clinch some agreements on economic cooperation, but both have sought to dampen expectations of a breakthrough in the feud over the windswept islands in the western Pacific seized by Soviet forces at the end of the war.

The two leaders will meet in Abe's home constituency in southwest Japan on Thursday and in Tokyo on Friday.

Abe has pledged to resolve the territorial dispute, in hopes both of leaving a diplomatic legacy that eluded his foreign minister father, and of building better ties with Russia to counter a rising China.

But a deal to end the dispute over the islands, known in Japan as the Northern Territories and in Russia as the Southern Kuriles, carries risks for Putin, who does not want to tarnish his image at home as a staunch defender of Russian sovereignty.

"I don't have excessive expectations, but I am not pessimistic, either," said former Japanese diplomat Kunihiko Miyake. "It could be a milestone in a long, long march."

Looking for deals

Russia hopes to clinch deals with Japanese companies as part of an Asian pivot in response to a decision by Western governments, including Japan, to impose sanctions in 2014 over Russia's role in the Ukraine conflict.

Putin told the Yomiuri newspaper this week that the goal of a peace treaty would be harder to achieve if Russia remained subject to Japanese sanctions.

But Japan's trade minister, Hiroshige Seko, has ruled out any economic cooperation with Russia that would undermine Group of Seven unity on the sanctions.

Japan has long insisted its sovereignty over all four of the disputed islands off Japan's northern island of Hokkaido be confirmed before a peace treaty is signed.

But there have been signs it has been rethinking its stance, perhaps by reviving a formula called "two-plus-alpha," based partly on a 1956 joint declaration in which the Soviet Union agreed it would hand over the two smaller islands after a peace treaty was signed.

Over the decades, the two sides have at times floated the idea of joint economic activity on the islands, but how to do that without undercutting either side's claim to sovereignty has never been resolved.



Add Comment

all comments

  Other news

more
Zoe Ball pays tribute to late boyfriend Billy Yates with heartwarming photo as he is laid to rest in private ceremony:'Goodbye my beautiful boy'

Zoe Ball pays tribute to late boyfriend Billy Yates with heartwarming photo as he is laid to..

23-May, 12:09

In a statement to MailOnline, a representative for Zoe Ball confirmed...

Mary Hopkin's Beatles poster sells for ?28k at auction

Mary Hopkin's Beatles poster sells for ?28k at auction..

24-May, 05:57

A rare Beatles poster owned by singer Mary Hopkin has been sold at...

Ariana Grande Manchester Terror Attack: Take That cancel concert at Liverpool Echo 'out of respect' for victims of tragic gig suicide bomb attack

Ariana Grande Manchester Terror Attack: Take That cancel concert at Liverpool Echo 'out of..

23-May, 09:24

The suicide bomber killed 22 people and injured at least 59 more after...

Ex-CIA chief Brennan says Trump-Russia inquiry 'well-founded'

Ex-CIA chief Brennan says Trump-Russia inquiry 'well-founded'..

23-May, 12:24

Former CIA Director John Brennan has said an investigation into possible...

Chicago supporters to honor freed Puerto Rico nationalist

Chicago supporters to honor freed Puerto Rico nationalist..

18-May, 02:35

Supporters of a 74-year-old Puerto Rican nationalist freed from house...

Lady Gaga Opens Halftime Show With Tribute to America

Lady Gaga Opens Halftime Show With Tribute to America..

05-Feb, 20:44

Lady Gaga stole the show at Super Bowl LI in Houston, beginning the Pepsi...

A history of chemical weapons in Syria

A history of chemical weapons in Syria..

06-Apr, 14:32

The death toll from Tuesday’s chemical weapons attack on a Syrian town...

You Are the Chef Episode 146

You Are the Chef Episode 146..

28-Feb, 22:52

The following You Are the Chef Episode 146 English Sub has been released....