'Naive' to expect quick settling of island dispute with Japan: Putin

'Naive' to expect quick settling of island dispute with Japan: Putin

In a move that took Japanese officials by surprise, Putin publically proposed to Abe that the two sign peace treaty to end World War II. In September, 1951, the Soviet Union refused to sign the Peace Treaty of San Francisco with Japan.

Russian Federation calls the islands the Kurils, while Japan calls them the Northern Territories.

Yoshihide Suga, Japan's chief cabinet secretary and top government spokesman, told a regular press briefing this week: "Our position that the Northern Territories issue is resolved before any peace treaty remains unchanged". Putin said that Russian-South Korean trade rose 27% last year and 8% in the first half of this year, according to Yonhap news agency.

"We've been holding talks for 70 years", Putin said at an economic forum in the far eastern Russian city of Vladivostok attended by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

Putin was also late for a December 2016 summit in Japan, arriving three hours later than scheduled.

"This stance hasn't changed", he added.

Shinzo Abe confirmed Wednesday his plans to visit China this year in what would be the first trip to the country by a Japanese prime minister since 2011, the latest sign of warmer ties between the two rivals.

"It would be naive to think that it can be solved quickly", he said after meeting Mr Abe on the sidelines of the forum on Monday.

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Some diplomats said Putin's proposal was a non-starter.

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.

"This appears to be just emotions and an attempt to put pressure rather than anything real", he said.

On Tuesday, Russia-China Investment Fund (RCIF) - a joint undertaking of the state-owned China Investment Corporation and Russian sovereign wealth fund - announced that a group of of Russian and Chinese businesses are considering 73 joint investment projects, with a cumulative value of more than $100 billion.

The two countries have launched various economic projects on the islands in areas such as the farming of fish and shellfish, wind-generated energy, and tourism.

FILE - Fishing boats are seen near the village of Rybaki on Iturup Island, in the Russian Far East, Aug. 20, 2011.

Noting that this was Xi's seventh visit to Russian Federation as president and first attendance at the EEF, Wang said the trip carried on the tradition that China and Russian Federation support each other in holding major events.

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