Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that sovereignty over the Kuril Islands is “in no doubt” during a press conference following talks with his Japanese counterpart Taro Kano on the peace treaty between the two nations in Moscow on Monday.
“This is our fundamental position and without a step in this direction it is very difficult to count on any movement forward on other issues. We... Еще attracted the attention of our friends from Japan that the issues of sovereignty over the islands are in no doubt — this is the territory of the Russian Federation,” he said.
The Russian foreign minister also described the proposal of the Japanese prime minister to allow Russian citizens to stay on the Kuril Islands if they were to pass into the sovereignty of Japan as “utterly unacceptable.”
Lavrov confirmed that Russia is ready to work on the basis of the 1956 declaration, which means “full recognition by our Japanese neighbours of the results of the Second World War, including the sovereignty of the Russian Federation over all the islands of the South Kuril Ridge.”
“We drew attention during the negotiations to the actions taken by the United States to develop its global missile defence system on Japanese territory, actions aimed at militarising this part of the globe,” Lavrov said, adding that these actions do not neutralise “the Korean nuclear threat,” but “pose risks to the security of the Russian Federation and China.”
Four islands located between Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula and Japan's northern island of Hokkaido are the cause of the long-standing territorial dispute between the countries.
In Russia, the islands are known as the Southern Kuril Islands, while Japan refers to them as the Northern Territories. Both Russia and Japan claim ownership of the islands, with the decades-long disagreement leaving a post-WWII peace deal still unsigned.