Putin: Peace treaty first, N. islands later

Putin: Peace treaty first, N. islands later

Putin: Peace treaty first, N. islands later

"Let's conclude a peace agreement, not now but by year's end without any preconditions", Putin said, prompting the audience to break into applause.

"However, our position that the Northern Territories issue is resolved before any peace treaty remains unchanged".

The top government spokesman also said Japan will not change its position of seeking to resolve the issue of the islands' sovereignty, before concluding the peace treaty with Russian Federation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted China's Xi Jinping in Vladivostok - as well as the Japanese and South Korean leaders - at the three-day Eastern Economic Forum.

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"I don't want to comment on what President Putin said", Suga said at a regular briefing in Tokyo.

Their two countries have been in dispute for seven decades over a chain of Pacific islands and as a result have still not formally ended their World War II hostilities.

President Xi highlighted that the two countries share common interests in many worldwide issues, . and called for the need to cooperate more going forward.

During the talks in Vladivostok on Wednesday, Putin and Abe discussed the idea of building a railway bridge from Sakhalin to mainland Russian Federation, which could later be extended to the Kuril Islands and Japan.

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However Vladimir Putin's schedule for his visit to Vladivostok will not allow him to discuss his peace treaty initiative with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday, Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

"This stance hasn't changed", he added. "Putin does not expect anything", Kunadze told the Echo of Moscow radio station.

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

On Monday, Japan's Prime Minister Abe said he was ready to provide financial aid to Pyongyang on condition that it resolves the issues of its nuclear and missile tests and abducted Japanese nationals.

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The Kurils, which lie north of Japan's Hokkaido island, have been controlled by Moscow since they were seized by Soviet troops in the dying days of World War II. "We have been negotiating for 70 years", Mr Putin said. They attended a roundtable meeting on regional cooperation and visited "The Far East Street" exhibition showcasing the rich local cultural exchanges between the two countries and investment opportunities in Russia's Far East regions.

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