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MOSCOW (Kyodo) It would be desirable for President Dmitry Medvedev to visit disputed Russian-held islands off Hokkaido as part of his trip to Japan, a source in the Russian presidential office said Friday, according to Interfax news agency.

Medvedev canceled his planned visit to the islands during his trip to the Russian Far East last week, but there is speculation that he will visit the islands when he attends an annual summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum to be held in Yokohama.

If he goes ahead with the plan, Medvedev will become the first Russian leader to visit the islands.

Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara warned that a visit by Medvedev to the islands would seriously hurt bilateral ties.

But Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko countered that Moscow considered Tokyo’s warning unacceptable.

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