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Putin vows not to 'trade' Kuril Islands, and puts accent on economic development

By The Siberian Times reporter
02 September 2016

Russian president hints at possible future 'compromises' on dispute over the islands, as 2nd Eastern Economic Forum opens in Vladivostok.

'It has nothing to do with any kind of exchange or sale.' Picture: Kremlin.ru

The Kremlin leader dampened speculation that a preliminary agreement could be reached on the Kuril Islands, between the Kamchatka peninsula and the north of Japan.

The long running dispute has prevented a peace treaty between the two countries formally marking the end of the Second World War.

'We do not trade territories although concluding a peace treaty with Japan is certainly a key issue and we would like to find a solution to this problem together with our Japanese friends,' said the Russian president. 

He said that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his government 'have expressed their eagerness to resume discussions on this issue. Abe called for a 'heart-to-heart talk' with Putin 'to move forward on the issue of a peace treaty and the Northern Territories'.

Ahead of the meeting Putin said: 'It has nothing to do with any kind of exchange or sale. It is about the search for a solution when neither party would be at a disadvantage, when neither party would perceive itself as conquered or defeated.'

Kuril Islands


Kuril Islands

The long running dispute has prevented a peace treaty between the two countries formally marking the end of the Second World War. Pictures: The Siberian Times, Wikipedia

Tokyo is considering reviving a once-pursued 'two-track' idea of seeking the return of two of the four islands initially, while continuing talks on the fate of the other two, say sources. 

Some 2,400 participants and 1,000-plus media representatives are attending the session at Russia's Far Eastern Federal University on Russky Island. Putin stressed his favourite theme of kick starting economic development in the Russian Far East and eastern Siberia. 

'All this area contains tremendous resources, including oil and gas, 90 percent of Russian tin, 30 percent of Russian gold, 35 percent of forest, 70 percent of Russia's fish is harvested in the local waters,' he said in an interview with Bloomberg.

'This is a region with a substantially developed transport and railroad infrastructure. In recent years we have been actively developing road connections. There is also a huge potential for developing the aviation and space industries.'

He highlighted the new Russian spaceport in Amur region.

'The aviation industry, including combat air force, has been traditionally developing here. It is the Russian Far East where the SU aircraft, which are well known worldwide, are manufactured.

Vladimir Putin meets Shinzo Abe

Vladimir Putin and Shinzo Abe meet at 2nd Eastern Economic Forum. Picture: Kremlin.ru

'Finally, we are resuming the manufacturing of sea vessels here, first of all for civilian purposes.'

A cluster has appeared around marine biology, and Putin called for inward investment to expand it. There would be unprecedented cultural development.

'We are going to set up a branch of the St Petersburg Mariinsky Theatre here. We are also planning to open local branches of the Hermitage Museum and the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet,' he said. 

The Japanese premier said: 'I believe the development of the Far East region with big potential is Russia's top priority issue.' Putin said Japanese investors were welcome to acquire certain capital assets of Russia's largest hydropower producer RusHydro.

'As for RusHydro, the work is going on. We believe we know how to settle financial matters connected with RusHydro. If Japanese partners and friends intend to acquire capital assets, they are welcome. We see no political restrictions,' he said. 

Among the countries attending are China, Japan, South Korea, India, Vietnam, Australia, the United States and Singapore.

Comments (1)

You have to be careful these days of who you get into bed with?!
Jaker, Dundalk
20/12/2016 23:30
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