Putin wants normalisation of bilateral ties with Japan

Tokyo: Moscow seeks full normalisation of relations with Tokyo as it is imperative for the resolution of a peace treaty, the Russian President said on Tuesday.

“We strive to sign a peace treaty. We want full-scale normalisation of relations,” Efe news agency quoted Vladimir Putin as saying in an interview to a Japanese TV channel ahead of his visit to Japan on Thursday.

Japan and Russia are embroiled in a territorial dispute over the Kuril Islands, which have been controlled by Moscow since Japan surrendered in the Second World War in 1945, a dispute that has prevented the countries from signing a peace treaty.

Putin said that Moscow does not believe in territorial disputes and is ready to hold talks on it.

“Our agreements on creating the conditions for preparing a peace treaty should be rooted in this trust,” said Putin.

The Russian President said that trust-building between Tokyo and Moscow can also be achieved through cooperation in security matters.

He added that proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and missile technology is a common threat and that if the two countries “act together along these lines, (they) will create conditions for trust”.

Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are set to meet on Thursday in Japan’s Yamaguchi prefecture to discuss territorial and peace-related matters.

On Friday, they are expected to go to Tokyo to attend talks centered on economic cooperation.