Russian, Japanese foreign ministers discuss disputed islands - 1/14/2019 4:33:32 AM

Sergei Lavrov and Taro Kono  Russian Foreign Ministry

"The legal position of our government remains unchanged", Suga said commenting on whether Tokyo still considers the Southern Kuril Islands as "indigenous Japanese territories".

The foreign ministers of Japan and Russia are discussing signing a peace treaty that would include solving the issue of four Russian-held islands. Just $5 a month.

The governor of the Russian island of Sakhalin, who also administers the Kurils, last week said locals opposed territorial changes.

"During negotiations, we have drew attention [of Tokyo] to the steps that the United States was taking to develop its global missile defense system on the Japanese territory - the actions that are aimed at militarization of this part of the globe and that the United States formally justifies by the need to neutralize what they call the North Korean nuclear threat".

Unusually, the two foreign ministers did not appear in a joint press conference but scheduled two separate briefings for the media. Talks stalled for decades due to Japan's claim to strategic islands seized by the Soviet army in the final days of the war.

The Japanese have long argued that for a peace treaty to be signed, the territorial issue has to be settled first.

The top Russian diplomat said that President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had spoken about the necessity to find such a solution to the peace treaty that will be supported and accepted by the peoples of both countries.

Signaling tough talks ahead, Moscow has recently bristled at Japanese statements about a possible deal, warning Tokyo against "artificially inciting the atmosphere".

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Putin and Abe will discuss issues related to a peace treaty at talks in Moscow on January 22, the Kremlin said in a statement Monday.

Under the new framework, Japan hopes to break a deadlock that has continued despite a series of joint declarations issued with Moscow and decades of bilateral talks, with Abe determined to show that this time will be different.

Lavrov called the statement "outrageous", adding that it raised new questions about the independence of Japanese foreign policy.

In remarks before the Monday meeting, Japan's Kono said the two countries must use the great potential for cooperation. "We would like to hope it will indeed be so".

On the other hand, I explained in detail our position regarding World War II (1939-1945)', he said.

Washington claims that this system is aimed against threats from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, but in fact it creates risks for the security of Russian Federation and China, Lavrov said.

In November 2018, Abe told Putin that if the islands were returned to Japan, Tokyo would not allow the build military facilities on them.

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