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POST TIME: 13 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Putin proposes Russia, Japan peace deal
AFP

Putin proposes Russia, Japan  peace deal

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L), Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (2R) and China's President Xi Jinping (R) attend the plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok yesterday. AFP PHOTO

VLADIVOSTOK: President Vladimir Putin suggested yesterday Russia and Japan sign a peace deal “without any preconditions” by the end of the year, a historic proposal to try to solve a territorial dispute after decades of deadlock, reports AFP.

Putin’s sudden proposal came just two days after he said that the two countries’ territorial dispute was unlikely to be settled soon.

The dispute between Russia and Japan centres on the four southernmost islands in the Kuril chain which the Soviet Union occupied at the end of World War II in 1945 but are claimed by Japan.

It has kept the two countries from signing a peace accord.

“We have been trying to solve the territorial dispute for 70 years. We’ve been holding talks for 70 years,” Putin said at an economic forum in the far eastern Russian city of Vladivostok attended by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

“Shinzo said: ‘let’s change our approaches.’ Let’s! Let’s conclude a peace agreement, not now but by year’s end without any preconditions,” Putin said, with the audience breaking into applause.

“It is not a joke,” Putin added, suggesting the two countries commit to solving the territorial dispute in the text of the agreement. Putin said the conclusion of such a deal would create a better atmosphere and allow the two countries to “continue to solve all outstanding issues like friends.”