Putin wants Russian Federation and Japan to seal historic peace deal

China takes center stage at opening of Russia’s Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok

China takes center stage at opening of Russia’s Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok

Russian President Vladimir Putin and China's Xi Jinping on Tuesday took a break from the heavy lifting of worldwide diplomacy to toss pancakes on the sidelines of an economic forum.

The two countries have not signed a peace treaty due to a territorial dispute over a group of islands off Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido.

"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.

But a Japanese government spokesman said Japan's position had not changed and that the issue of sovereignty over the islands needed to be resolved before signing any treaties with Russian Federation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, sitting on a stage alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, proposed on Wednesday (Sept 12) that the two men sign a peace treaty by the end of this year.

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

Russian Federation and Japan are in dispute over a chain of Pacific islands and as a result have still not formally ended their World War Two hostilities.

Putin and Xi also pledged to broaden the scope of cooperation in all areas, including investment, energy and finance.

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It has kept the two countries from signing a peace accord.

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.

Both Moscow and Tokyo claim sovereignty over the islands, known in Russian Federation as the Kurile islands and in Japan as the Northern Territories. In September, 1951, the Soviet Union refused to sign the Peace Treaty of San Francisco with Japan.

A Japanese government spokesman said the country's stance had not changed.

The quest for the return of the islands is an emotive issue in Japan, and Kunadze suggested that Abe would never accept a deal that would be political suicide.

The Japanese prime minister for his part said the two countries "have a duty to future generations".

"It seems that this would facilitate the solution of all problems which we have not been able to solve during the past 70 years", Putin added.

He also made clear that they should fight unilateralism and trade protectionism worldwide, .in an apparent response to the Trump administration's trade policies.

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