MOSCOW – The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama tried to prevent Japan from improving ties with Russia and hosting a visit by President Vladimir Putin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claimed Tuesday during his annual news conference.
Russia’s top diplomat said Tokyo was under pressure from the outgoing U.S. administration, which “went to great lengths in its attempts to upset the outlook for normal relations between Japan and Russia.”
“The outgoing administration has been doing unworthy things,” Lavrov was quoted by the Tass News Agency as saying. “In this particular case they tried to make use of their relations with Japan to treat their Japanese allies as second-rate members of the international community, as subordinate members of the international community.”
Putin visited Japan in December.
Russia and Japan signed numerous economic deals during the visit but made no big breakthrough on the territorial dispute that has overshadowed ties since World War II.