May 20, 2016 –
Translated by J. Arnoldski
At the press conference on the results of the Russia-ASEAN summit, the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, stated that Moscow is not going to trade away anything in discussing the issue of the Kuril Islands.
“We are not going to sell anything. We are ready to buy a lot, but we won’t sell anything,” the head of state stated as quoted by TASS.
According to Putin, Russia is ready to hold dialogue with all partners, including Japan, on the subject of concluding a peace treaty in the context of which territorial issues will be discussed.
“Japan is our neighbor, we have achieved a high level of mutual relations,” Putin remarked.
On May 6th, the prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, said at the end of negotiations in Sochi that he would propose a new approach to the problem of the Kuril Islands to the president of Russia. He also remarked that an agreement was reached with Vladimir Putin on the resolution of this problem over the course of meetings.
On May 13th, the news appeared that Tokyo had allegedly proposed that Moscow sell the Kuril Islands. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation denied this information, calling it “total nonsense.”
“There is nothing further from reality. To think that the point of our dialogue with Japan is the sale or transfer of the Kuril Islands in exchange for economic aid, and presenting this as the new approach which Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe suggested, is primitive,” the ministry stated.
Russian and Japanese relations are clouded by the unresolved territorial dispute. After the Second World War, a peace treaty was not signed between the two countries. Japan claims four of the Kuril Islands – Itirup, Kunashir, Shikotan, and Habomai – in reference to the bilateral Treatise on Trade and Borders of 1855.
For its part, Moscow has stated that there is no reason to doubt that the Southern Kuril islands became part of the USSR following the Second World War and that Russian sovereignty over them accords with international legal formulations.