Japan's Abe confirms China visit this year

Japan's Abe confirms China visit this year

The Russian leader, whose tardiness has become legendary, kept Abe waiting during a Russia-Japan summit at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on Monday, Kyodo News and Yomiuri Shimbun reported.

"It is not a joke", Putin added, suggesting the two countries commit to solving the territorial dispute in the text of the peace deal.

"An idea has just come into my head", Putin said to Abe during a question and answer session at an economic forum in the Russian city of Vladivostok.

"Let's conclude a peace agreement, not now but by year's end without any preconditions", Putin said, referring to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who along with Chinese President Xi Jinping participated in the conference.

The islands of Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan and the Habomai islet group, called the Northern Territories in Japan and the Southern Kurils in Russian Federation, were seized by the Soviet Union after Japan surrendered in World War II in August 1945.

Xi and Putin had their third meeting in four months, charting the future course of the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination and exchanging views on major global and regional issues, Wang said.

Still, a former Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Georgy Kunadze, felt this could be political posturing from Putin.

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In Moscow, Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov told Russian news agencies that Putin's announcement would not require any changes to the current format of negotiations.

"This stance hasn't changed", he added. They are administered by Russian Federation and claimed by Japan.

Establishing its sovereignty over the islands is the crucial issue for Japan, so it would be unlikely to sign a deal without first receiving some assurances from the Kremlin over the fate of the islands.

"We've been trying to solve the territorial dispute for 70 years".

Shinzo Abe confirmed Wednesday his plans to visit China this year in what would be the first trip to the country by a Japanese prime minister since 2011, the latest sign of warmer ties between the two rivals. The Kuril Islands issue remains the sticking point since after WWII the islands were handed over to the Soviet Union while Japan has laid claims to the four southern islands.

Lying near the Japanese island of Hokkaido, the territory was taken over by Red Army troops in the final days of World War II.

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