Solution to the territorial dispute and the conclusion of a peace treaty between Russia and Japan cannot be reached instantly, Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed at a press conference after talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday.
“It would be naive to believe that we can solve this (territorial dispute over the South Kuril Islands) overnight, but it is necessary to search for a solution that would meet the strategic interests of Russia and Japan and that would be accepted by people of both countries,” the Russian leader said calling the absence of a peace treaty between Moscow and Tokyo “an anachronism of the past.”
Putin urges to stop “historical ping-pong” about the fate of the islands; the interests of both countries require long-term and full settlement.
Putin said he was confident that the sides needed to come to final and long-term settlement.
“To our mind, it is necessary to stop this historical ping-pong for these territories and finally realize that the fundamental interests of both Japan and Russia require final and long-term settlement and this is the crux of the matter,” the Russian president said.
Putin said he hopes joint business activity on Kuril Islands will foster peace treaty between Russia, Japan.
He noted that the initiative on the joint economic activities in the southern Kuril Islands had been supported by both leaders. “We hope that such cooperation will contribute to creating a favorable atmosphere for continuing talks on signing a peace treaty,” Putin said.
“These islands can quite become not an apple of discord between Russia and Japan, if we implement the plans of Mr. Prime Minister [of Japan Shinzo Abe] but, on the contrary, something that unites both Russia and Japan,” Putin said.
As the Russian president said, “If we make proper steps towards the plan proposed by the prime minister – and he proposed creating a separate structure for economic activity on the islands, conclude an inter-governmental agreement and work on the mechanism of interaction,” then this basis can be used to develop such conditions that would allow achieving a final solution on the peace treaty.
“If someone believes that we are interested solely in developing economic ties and are putting off a peace treaty as a secondary thing, this is not the case,” the Russian leader said.
“To my mind, the most important thing is to conclude a peace treaty because this will create conditions for our long-term interaction in a historical perspective, in the medium and long term,” the Russian president said.
Putin said he was confident “this is more important than the activity on the islands.”
“Japan has lived without intensive cooperation with Russia for 70 years and we have lived likewise. Can we live in this manner further? Yes, we can. But will this be correct? No, this will be incorrect,” the head of the Russian state said.
As Putin said, “If we unite the efforts, the competitiveness of our countries and economies will increase manifold.” “This is what we should aspire for,” Putin said.