Moscow, Tokyo to discuss economic cooperation on disputed islands

Russia and Japan have agreed to hold the first round of bilateral consultations on joint economic activities on a series of disputed islands in Tokyo in March, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

The agreement was reached when Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov met with his Japanese counterpart Takeo Akiba earlier in the day in Moscow.

“The parties exchanged views on the development of bilateral political dialogue, economic cooperation, and cultural and humanitarian exchanges,” said a statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry after the meeting.

The two diplomats also discussed Russian-Japanese cooperation in the international arena, according to the statement.

During a December visit to Japan, Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the need to start consultations on joint economic activities on the disputed Pacific islands.

Russia and Japan have yet to sign a peace treaty formalizing the end of World War II due to a territorial row over the four small islands called the Southern Kurils by Russia and the Northern Territories by Japan.

The decades-old spat has hindered diplomatic and trade relations between the two countries.

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