Duterte keeps ‘very good’ rat­ing

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

Be­ing on a dif­fer­ent wave­length with Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, Ja­pan’s Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe may find it im­pos­si­ble to set­tle the ter­ri­to­rial dis­pute be­tween the two coun­tries dur­ing Putin’s visit that be­gan at a hot springs re­sort in Abe’s an­ces­tral home­town of Na­gato, Ya­m­aguchi pre­fec­ture, on Thursday.

Ja­pan put the is­sue high on the agenda for the first day of Putin’s two-day visit.

Abe is ea­ger to get back the four dis­puted is­lands off Ja­pan’s north­ern­most main is­land, Hokkaido, claim­ing that they are in­her­ently part of the coun­try’s ter­ri­tory.

Putin, how­ever, has as­serted that there are no ter­ri­to­rial prob­lems with Ja­pan. “It is only Ja­pan that feels it has a ter­ri­to­rial is­sue with Rus­sia,” he told Ja­panese me­dia on Tues­day. “The re­sults of that ter­ri­ble tragedy of the 20th cen­tury, namely World War II, are en­shrined in cor­re­spond­ing in­ter­na­tional doc­u­ments.”

Af­ter the meet­ing, Rus­sia’s for­eign min­is­ter said Ja­pan and Rus­sia will likely re­vive se­cu­rity talks and keep dis­cussing the ter­ri­to­rial dis­pute.

Lavrov told re­porters that Putin had of­fered to re­sume se­cu­rity talks among their for­eign and de­fense min­is­ters which were sus­pended af­ter Rus­sia an­nexed the Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

Com­ment­ing on the visit, Chi­nese For­eign Min­istry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Thursday that China is pleased to see Rus­sia and Ja­pan de­velop nor­mal and friendly co­op­er­a­tion based on mu­tual re­spect and treat­ing each other equally.

He said both Rus­sia and Ja­pan are China’s neigh­bors and im­por­tant coun­tries in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion, adding that their re­la­tions should ben­e­fit re­gional peace and sta­bil­ity.

The Soviet Union seized the is­lands at the end of the war.

This is the fourth meet­ing be­tween Abe and Putin this year and the 16th in to­tal.

Putin’s trip to Ja­pan was the first by a Rus­sian leader in 11 years. He had been sched­uled to visit in 2014 but had to post­pone af­ter the Crimean an­nex­a­tion. Along with the West, Ja­pan im­posed sanc­tions on Rus­sia, which Putin has crit­i­cized for cre­at­ing a ma­jor bar­rier to­ward progress in ne­go­ti­a­tions on a peace treaty.

Putin told Yomi­uri Shim­bun this week that the goal of a peace treaty would be harder to achieve if Rus­sia re­mained sub­ject to Ja­panese sanc­tions.

Ja­pan and Rus­sia signed a Ja­pan-Soviet Joint Dec­la­ra­tion in 1956, end­ing their state of war and restor­ing diplo­matic re­la­tions. These is­lands, which are called the South­ern Kurils in Rus­sia and the North­ern Ter­ri­to­ries in Ja­pan, have stood in the way of a peace treaty.

Ja­pan holds the set­tle­ment of the is­sue as a pre­con­di­tion to con­clude a peace treaty.

Putin is in­ter­ested in “joint eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties” on the four dis­puted is­lands un­der Rus­sia’s sovereignty.

Abe and Putin were sched­uled to meet on Fri­day in Tokyo for eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion and a joint news con­fer­ence.

Abe’s bid to im­prove re­la­tions with Rus­sia had wor­ried Wash­ing­ton, but US Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump is ex­pected to seek a thaw with Moscow, Reuters re­ported.

Con­tact the writ­ers at cai­hong@chi­nadaily.com.cn Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte re­tained a “very good” opin­ion-poll rat­ing af­ter six months in of­fice marked by his war on drugs. Duterte reg­is­tered a net sat­is­fac­tion rat­ing of 63 per­cent, just lower than the 64 per­cent he got in Septem­ber, the So­cial Weather Sta­tions agency said in a state­ment on Thursday.

shakes hands with Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe dur­ing their meet­ing on Thursday in Na­gato, Ja­pan.

It is only Ja­pan that feels it has a ter­ri­to­rial is­sue with Rus­sia.”

Vladimir Putin, Rus­sian Pres­i­dent

ALEXAN­DER ZEMLIANICHENKO / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin

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