National / Politics

Putin and Abe to discuss peace treaty during talks next week, but Moscow unlikely to make any concessions

Kyodo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet Thursday in Vladivostok, in Russia’s Far East, on the fringes of an economic forum, the Russian presidential office has said.

The issue of a Russia-Japan peace treaty will be one of the topics to be discussed by the leaders on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum from Sept. 4 to 6, the Tass news agency reported Friday, citing Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov.

Japan and Russia remain deadlocked over a territorial dispute after more than 25 bilateral meetings between Abe and Putin. The disputed status of the Russia-controlled, Japan-claimed islands off Hokkaido has prevented the two countries from concluding a postwar peace treaty.

“Naturally, they will discuss issues of bilateral cooperation and problems related to the very sensitive issue, i.e. that of the peace treaty,” the Russian aide was quoted as saying by Tass.

Ushakov added that Moscow’s position on the matter “is very clear,” suggesting that Russia is unlikely to make any concessions in dealing with the territorial row in talks with Abe.

The disputed islands east of Hokkaido are called the Northern Territories in Japan and the Southern Kurils in Russia. The Soviet Union seized the islands after Japan’s surrender at the end of World War II in 1945, a move Tokyo claims was illegal.

Abe is scheduled to attend the annual economic forum in Vladivostok for the fourth straight year.