11 Feb '11, 2am

Russia and Japan to hold islands crisis talks

MOSCOW: The top diplomats of Russia and Japan will hold tense talks on Friday amid a bitter war of words over a chain of disputed islands claimed by the Soviet army at the end of World War II. The closed-door meeting between Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara and Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov was announced in December amid hopes that the two neighbours were willing to move past their Kuril Islands dispute. The decades-long impasse has prevented the signature of a formal peace treaty and kept Japanese investments to a minimum in Russia's under-developed Far East. But the Kurils regained the spotlight this month when a trip there by Russia's defence minister was followed by President Dmitry Medvedev's vow "to strengthen our presence" on the Pacific archipelago. Medvedev relaunched the Kurils debate in November by paying an unprecedented visit to a region that has ju...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/vi...

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