On the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the resort island of Bali, Indonesia, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin sat down for a meeting and agreed to start talks on improving the security agreement between the two countries. The meeting, the pair’s fourth in seven months, will go a long way to finally resolving the territorial issues that have hampered bilateral relations between the two neighboring nations.
The meeting lasted 40 minutes, and it is reported that Abe and Putin have agreed on plans for their foreign and defense ministers to meet in Tokyo from Nov. 1. According to Abe, the ministerial meeting will be a “good opportunity for deepening the Japan-Russia relationship”, focusing on the field of security. Abe also said that he is instructing his foreign and defense ministers to take advantage of the meeting and make it “fruitful”, with Putin agreeing to Abe’s view. With this agreement in place, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu will visit Tokyo next month for talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera.
Abe and Putin have gradually built up mutual trust between the leadership of both nations toward resolving the territorial problem – a string of islands north of Japan that Russia claims as the Kurils, which Japan is calling the Northern Territories. This dispute has prevented the two countries from ever signing a peace treaty even after World War II. Abe and Putin are expected to confirm that their governments will continue to push for territorial talks at senior official levels, the most recent of which were held in August. On the field of economy and education, both leaders also agreed to expand what is already a vastly improved bilateral economic cooperation agreement – by focusing on trade and investment and personnel exchanges between the two countries in the education and research fields.
[via Jiji Press]
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