Japan, Russia to resume talks on joint economic activities this week

03-Jun-2020 Intellasia | JapanNews | 6:02 AM Print This Post

The Japanese and Russian governments will resume discussions as early as this week on joint economic activities in the northern territories, which have been suspended due to the novel coronavirus, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

The Japanese side also hopes to make progress in long-stalled peace treaty negotiations at a teleconference to be held by foreign policy authorities in both countries, according to several senior officials of the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

Arrangements are being made for comprehensive working group talks at the director-general level to be held as early as Friday, where a path toward realising full-scale implementation of the joint economic activities will be discussed. Foreign minister Toshimitsu Motegi and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov spoke by telephone on Thursday and agreed to hold working group talks at an early stage.

The Japanese government is also coordinating telephone talks between Takeo Mori, senior deputy foreign minister, and Igor Morgulov, deputy foreign minister of Russia, ahead of the working group talks. In addition to joint economic activities, the two sides are expected to discuss visa-free exchange programmes, which have been postponed due to the pandemic, and how to proceed with peace treaty negotiations.

However, the hurdles for treaty negotiations remain high. Russia has been intensifying its hard-line stance against other countries, with Moscow deciding to hold a constitutional referendum on July 1 to include a ban on territorial concessions. There are no signs that Moscow will compromise on the sovereignty issue of the northern territories.

Prime minister Shinzo Abe hopes to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin to break the deadlock. However, with no invitation from Moscow for a military parade scheduled for June 24 to commemorate the Soviet Union’s victory against Germany, Abe is unlikely to visit Russia.

The Japanese side is “working to prepare for a high-level meeting to be held in due course,” a senior Foreign Ministry official said.



Category: Japan

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