Ja­pan premier crit­i­cizes Rus­sian visit to is­lands

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe on Mon­day crit­i­cized his Rus­sian coun­ter­part Dmitry Medvedev’s week­end visit to dis­puted is­lands, ag­gra­vat­ing a long-run­ning dis­pute over the ar­chi­pel­ago.

The visit “con­flicts with Ja­pan’s po­si­tion and hurts the feel­ings of the Ja­panese peo­ple. It is ex­tremely re­gret­table,” Abe told a par­lia­men­tary panel when asked about the trip.

Abe’s first com­ments on the visit come af­ter the Rus­sian prime min­is­ter on Satur­day ar­rived in Itu­rup, one of four in the Kuril is­land chain that lies off Rus­sia’s far eastern coast and just north of Ja­pan.

Ja­panese For­eign Min­is­ter Fumio Kishida im­me­di­ately sum­moned Rus­sia’s am­bas­sador to Ja­pan in protest at the visit to the is­lands, which Ja­pan calls the North­ern Ter­ri­to­ries.

The visit has also led to Kishida post­pon­ing a planned trip to Rus­sia in the next few weeks, lo­cal re­ports said, cit­ing gov­ern­ment sources.

Kishida had been ex­pected to pre­pare the ground for Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin to make a long-de­layed visit to Ja­pan this year to seek a break­through in the 70-year-old ter­ri­to­rial dis­pute.

Soviet troops seized the is­lands just af­ter Ja­pan sur­ren­dered in World War II.

The seven-decade-old dis­pute has ham­pered trade and pre­vented Moscow and Tokyo from sign­ing a for­mal post-war peace treaty.

“What is sig­nif­i­cant for our coun­try’s na­tional in­ter­ests is to solve the ter­ri­to­rial is­sue of the North­ern Ter­ri­to­ries and sign the peace treaty,” Abe said Mon­day.

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