Russia, Japan leaders discuss Russian navy maneuvers in Pacific

President Vladimir Putin of Russia and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan at talks on Friday discussed the conduct of Russian Navy exercises in the Pacific, among other themes, a highly placed Japanese diplomat told a press briefing. The diplomat added the Japanese leader was concerned that the site of some of the maneuvers might be the Southern Kurils area. The diplomats said the Russian leader told Koizumi his country would discuss the issue with Japan.

Commenting on these reports to RIA Novosti, a highly placed source in the Russian military establishment was bewildered. He noted the exercises were being prepared as per normal procedure. As was the case with previous large-scale naval maneuvers on the Caspian Sea, the states involved were all notified in advance, he said, indeed, they would be invited to join.

The source was confident that the policy designed to improve the army and navy, something President Putin has repeatedly said was vital, would be continued further on.

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