Putin Proposes Peace Treaty With Japan Before Year's End

Howard TerrySep 14, 2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin used an appearance at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on Wednesday to float the idea of signing a peace treaty with Japan "without preconditions" by the end of 2018.

"After that, I very much wish to invite President Xi to Japan", said Abe, speaking after meeting China's leader Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the forum.

During the Russia-Japan summit Monday, Abe called for an end to a territorial dispute over the Kuril Islands, while Putin said there is a need to "take precautions" to find a solution, according to Japanese press reports.

"Let's conclude a peace agreement, not now but by year's end without any preconditions", Putin said, prompting the audience to break into applause.

There was no immediate response from Abe, whose country has sought the return of the islands that lie northeast of Hokkaido since the war.

Relations between China and Japan soured in 2012 over a territorial dispute over several tiny islands in the East China Sea. In 1956, Japan and the Soviet Union agreed to end "the state of war" and restore diplomatic relations.

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

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 Russian leader said he wanted to clinch the peace treaty first and then continue to discuss the territorial issue with Abe as "friends", during a question and answer session of the forum's plenary meeting.

The proposal means that resolving the bilateral issue on the northern territories would effectively be put aside and a conclusion of the peace treaty would happen first.

Vladimir Putin said Russian Federation welcomes more investment by Chinese companies and will offer good conditions to encourage more exchanges with China.

He suggested Abe would never accept a deal that would be political suicide.

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.

Russia's deputy foreign minister Igor Morgulov told Russian news agencies that Putin's announcement would not require any changes to the current format of negotiations.

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