Japan plans to reject Moscow’s proposal to discuss the timing and method for drawing a demarcation line between the two nations separately from the peace treaty the two nations hope to sign by 2000, government sources said Thursday.

During a summit held in November in Moscow, Russian President Boris Yeltsin reportedly told Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi that the peace treaty would include wording to draw a demarcation line that would end a decades-old territorial dispute over a group of Russian-held islands off Hokkaido.

At the same time, however, Yeltsin said that such specifics as to when and how the line would be drawn should be decided after the bilateral peace treaty is signed.

Japan, however, has decided to turn down the proposal because such a move would result in a further delay in resolving the territorial dispute, the sources said.

Tokyo is set to give its official response when Yeltsin is to visit Japan later this year. However, the sources said, Japan will hold to its basic stance in the upcoming meeting of a bilateral demarcation committee.

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