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14 Jan, 2019 21:17

Tokyo’s attempts to attach the US to Russia-Japan peace talks are ‘outrageous’ – Lavrov

Tokyo’s attempts to attach the US to Russia-Japan peace talks are ‘outrageous’ – Lavrov

Japan must stop trying to include the US in peace talks with Moscow and must abandon its territorial claims if it’s to make any progress, Russian FM Sergey Lavrov said, adding that American missiles in Japan were also of concern.

Moscow and Tokyo have recently redoubled efforts to seal a peace treaty – which the countries haven’t yet signed since the end of World War II – but “significant disagreements” remain, Lavrov said Monday, as negotiations kicked off in the Russian capital.

Among them are Japan’s recent attempts to turn its ally, the USA, into being part of the talks, which Lavrov blasted as outrageous.” He said he relayed Russia’s stance on this issue to his Japanese counterpart, Taro Kono, during their meeting in Moscow.

Earlier in January, an aide to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that he wanted the “US to understand the importance of concluding a Japan-Russia peace treaty as a means to jointly counter the threat from China.”

Also on rt.com ‘Whipping up tension:’ Moscow slams Tokyo over ‘distorting’ information about territorial dispute

Also complicating bilateral ties is the placement on Japanese territory of elements of America’s global anti-missile system, the Russian FM told journalists. “The US may explain their presence by the need to neutralize what they call the North Korean nuclear threat. But in reality, it creates security risks for Russia and China,” he pointed out.

“We told our [Japanese] friends that the issue of sovereignty over the Islands isn’t up for discussion. It’s Russian territory,” the FM said.

Moscow’s “core stance” is that Tokyo must fully recognize the results of WWII, stipulated in international agreements, including “Russia’s sovereignty over Southern Kuril Islands,” he said.

“Without this step, it’ll be hard to count on any kind of progress on other issues,” he added.

Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai islands in the Sea of Okhotsk were handed to the USSR after WWII and, since then, have been a major stumbling block to fruitful cooperation between the neighbors.

Japan has repeatedly demanded the land back, with the country’s constitution referring to the Kuril Islands as its “northern territories.” Lavrov stressed that this wording in the Japanese principal law book should be changed.

Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold a summit later this month to continue discussions of the proposed peace deal, the Russian FM said. In September, Putin proposed to the Japanese PM to pen a peace treaty without any pre-conditions, but Abe later made it clear that it was “unacceptable.”

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