According to the Japan Current News Agency on the 21st, the 22nd meeting was the 25th summit meeting between Abe and Putin. Allegedly, Abe appeared to be in a heavy mood before leaving Japan. At a press conference held at the Prime Ministers residence on the 21st, he said that territorial negotiations were a legacy of the war and were not easy to resolve. He hoped to make full use of time and open his heart to talk with Putin in Moscow to push forward negotiations on a peace treaty as far as possible. At the same time, Abe also hopes to take this visit to continue to promote the common economic activities of Japan and Russia on the disputed islands, and to further win the support of Russia by participating in the economic development of the Far East and strengthening the economic and security cooperation between Japan and Russia.
Japans Kyodo News Agency quoted Japanese government sources on the 21st as saying that Abe was considering the conclusion of a peace treaty between Japan and Russia as a solution to the territorial problem after returning Russia to the smaller islands of Sedan and Tooth Dance. Abe believes that Russia has always regarded the four northern islands (Russia called the South Thousand Islands) as Russian territory. If the Russian side is asked to return the Etorofu Islands and the back islands, the negotiations are likely to run aground, and it may be difficult for the Russian side to transfer the Sedan Islands and Tooth Dance Islands specified in the 1956 Japan-Soviet Joint Declaration. It is argued that this in fact means that Japan has abandoned its claim to the four islands, including the Houkou Islands and the Choose-to-Catch Islands. Japan has also criticized that this strategy may eventually lead to Japans abandonment of the catch-and-take policy and damage its national interests. In fact, Abe is becoming increasingly pessimistic about the possibility of realizing his strategy of returning Sedan and Tooth Dance to the remaining two islands. Senior government officials argue that Putin simply cannot agree with this idea.
Around the issue of northern territorial sovereignty, there have been major differences between Japan and Russia. Japanese media said that during the East Asia Summit in Singapore in November last year, the Japanese and Russian leaders reached a basic consensus on speeding up the negotiation of the peace treaty between the two countries based on the Japan-Soviet Joint Declaration. Under the circumstances of dramatic changes in the international situation, both countries have the idea of improving their relations. Since this year, Abe has repeatedly expressed his determination to solve the territorial problem. However, his visit to Russia last week did not bring him good news. Russias position on the territorial issue has become increasingly tough. Both officials and the people strongly expressed that they would not give up their territory. Putin has always stressed that Russia and Japan should give priority to the conclusion of peace treaties before resolving territorial problems. Public opinion holds that even if Russia agrees to return the two islands in some form, it will not transfer sovereignty to Japan. The talks between Abe and Putin are expected to be full of twists and turns.
Russian News 21 quoted Tokyo University Russian-Japanese relations expert James Brown as saying that the Russian-Japanese summit is unlikely to achieve significant results. Although Abe is eager to push for a solution to the territorial problem, Russia is not in a hurry, and the transfer of the two islands to Japan will have a serious negative impact on Russian society. Professor Yoshihiro Nakai, of the Institute of Overseas Affairs of the Japanese Colonial University, also said that it was not a good time for Japan and Russia to negotiate on territorial issues, nor was it necessary to conclude a peace treaty. Abe is anxious to conclude a peace treaty just to leave his regime a political legacy, and his term of office is now only three years. In addition, there is also the view that the reason why Abe pushed for the settlement of the territorial issue is that he also hopes to take advantage of Russias consideration of balancing relations with the United States. It is understood that Abes desire to solve the territorial problem is the strongest among the successive Japanese prime ministers after the war. On January 6, Abe visited the tomb of his father and former foreign minister, Taro Abe, in Yamaguchi Prefecture. He vowed that in any case, he will push forward the progress of the peace treaty between Japan and Russia and make every effort to draw a halt.
Russias Presidential Secretary Peskov said on the same day that Russia would do its best to speed up the negotiation process of concluding a peace treaty with Japan, the Russian news agency said Monday. So far, however, the Japanese government has not officially declared its willingness to sign a peace treaty with Russia in exchange for two islands. Neither Russia nor Japan intends to give up their national interests for signing the peace treaty. At present, neither country has put forward any specific draft on the conclusion of a peace treaty.
Source: Global Times - Global Network. More exciting, please log on to the World Wide Web http://www.huanqiu.com responsible editor: Yao Wenguang_NN1682