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Abe and Putin Conclude Meetings in Moscow, Urge Return to Six-Party Talks on Korea

April 29, 2017 (EIRNS)—Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe concluded two days of meetings in Moscow where the tension on the Korean Peninsula was on top of the agenda. The two called for a restart of six-party negotiations as quickly as possible.

"The situation on the Korean Peninsula was discussed separately [at the Russian-Japanese talks], as in our joint opinion with the prime minister [of Japan] it has, unfortunately, deteriorated seriously,"

Putin told journalists after their talks. "We are urging all the states involved in regional affairs to refrain from military rhetoric and seek a calm and constructive dialogue," Putin said. "We see the quickest restart of six-party negotiations as a common task," the Russian leader said.

For his part Abe said,

"President Putin and I have agreed that Japan and Russia will cooperate and call on North Korea to fully comply with the United Nations Security Council’s resolutions and refrain from further provocations,"

he said.

The principal reason for the meeting was to increase bilateral political and economic cooperation, especially in the context of concluding a peace treaty where the Kuril Islands are a major issue. Both countries consider the islands, currently occupied by Russia, their territory.

They agreed to continue working together and draft a list of priority projects in the near future. While Putin said it was agreed that a Japanese delegation of officials and businessmen will visit the Kuril Islands this summer to explore joint economic opportunities, Abe said the delegation could visit as early as May. Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East Alexander Galushka told Izvestia that Russian officials will meet the Japanese visitors, but the session will not be a high-level one.

Charter flights to the South Kuril Islands will be launched for Japan’s citizens from Hokkaido, as the topic was actively lobbied for by Tokyo. This would allow former Japanese islanders to visit the graves of their ancestors; currently such visa-free travel is only available by sea. According to President Putin, the parties "expect that this will contribute to creating an atmosphere of trust and mutual understanding between the states."

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga characterized this saying, "That was a huge success," and that the Abe-Putin talks were "substantive and frank."

Also discussed was the construction of the Sakhalin-Hokkaido gas pipeline.