Japanese Foreign Minister to hold talks in Moscow

According to the sources in the RF Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Yoriko Kawaguchi will discuss a whole range of the issues concerning bilateral relations, including the peace treaty between the two countries, and also key international issues.

In particular, the sides will exchange their views on the situation around Iraq, on solving the Middle East crisis, and on fighting international terrorism. Moscow and Tokyo share similar positions on most of those issues.

According to RIA Novosti, the main topic on the agenda is going to be the upcoming visit of the Japanese Premier Junichiro Koizumi to Russia in January of 2003. In this respect, the sides must work out an "Action Plan" which is expected to be signed during the visit by the Presidents of the respective nations. This document will sum up the results of the past bilateral cooperation and determine new ways for the mutual partnership in the future. The idea of such a plan has been suggested by the Japanese side.

According to a high-ranking official in the Japanese Foreign Ministry, during the upcoming talks with Ivanov, Yoriko Kawaguchi wants to discuss the problems of the border demarcation based on every possible way of developing relations with Russia. It's worth to note that the Russian side continuously appealed to Japan not to tie the political and economic aspects of this issue together because it interferes with the progress of the relations between the two countries. Only the forward movement in bilateral trade and economic relations will ensure the successful solution of the "old" political problems and will help better understand the concerns of both countries.

Earlier, Tokyo based its relations with Moscow on the principle of "non-separation of economics and politics", and later - the tactics of the "widening balance". Both meant that in order to sign the peace treaty between Russia and Japan and to open the way for comprehensive economic cooperation, Moscow first had to acknowledge Japan's sovereignty over four Southern Kuril islands which, like the whole Kuril archipelago, passed into Russian possession after Japan's defeat in World War II. Presently, the Japanese side is determined to continue the comprehensive cooperation with Russia, despite the fact that this issue still remains unsettled. That includes the improvement of economic and trade relations, which will inevitably lead to the future solution of the sovereignty over Kuril islands problem.

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