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Abe, Putin to spur talks on economic projects

Pool photo/The Yomiuri Shimbun

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands before their bilateral talks in Da Nang, Vietnam, on Friday.

Jiji PressDA NANG, Vietnam (Jiji Press) — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed on Friday to accelerate talks to draw up specific joint economic projects on the northern territories in five fields including tourism and aquaculture by next spring.

“We’ll advance step by step toward resolving the issue concerning the sovereignty of the four islands [in the northern territories] and concluding a peace treaty” to formally end World War II hostilities between Japan and Russia, Abe told reporters following talks with Putin on the sidelines of regional gatherings in Da Nang, central Vietnam.

Abe expressed his eagerness to make progress on the joint economic activities on the four islands, ahead of his planned visit to St. Petersburg in May 2018.

The two sides confirmed that they will hold working-group talks on the matter by the end of this year and a meeting of vice foreign minister-class officials in early 2018.

Abe and Putin agreed to continue allowing former Japanese residents of the islands to visit their relatives’ graves on the islets by air next year.

Also agreed on was continued close cooperation between the two countries in dealing with North Korea, which maintains its nuclear and missile development programs.

The Japanese leader said it is crucial to fully implement U.N. Security Council sanctions resolutions against North Korea toward the denuclearization of the reclusive country, a common goal of Japan and Russia.Speech

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