Shinzo Abe willing to talk WWII peace treaty with Vladimir Putin

The two leaders met face-to-face on the sidelines of the regional Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Singapore.

Published: 14th November 2018 09:19 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th November 2018 09:19 PM   |  A+A-

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (File | AP)


SINGAPORE: Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he was willing to discuss a peace treaty with Russia -- two countries still technically at war with each other -- during a meeting with Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.

The two leaders met face-to-face on the sidelines of the regional Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Singapore.

Both countries are seeking to try to end a thorny territorial row that has dogged relations since the end of World War II.

The dispute between Russia and Japan centres on four islands in the strategically-located Kuril chain which the Soviet Union occupied at the end of the war in 1945 but are claimed by Japan.

It has kept the two countries from signing a peace accord that would formally end their wartime hostilities.

"We hope to discuss not only bilateral cooperation, including our economies but also the issue of the peace treaty," Abe told Putin, according to a Russian translation of his words at the start of the meeting.

"I am ready to give enough time to this, the peace treaty," he added.

Putin first suggested the two countries sign a peace treaty "without any preconditions" in September.

The proposal was initially received coolly in Japan, where a government spokesman said the two countries should first resolve the dispute before signing a peace deal.

But in recent months, diplomatic efforts to resolve the issue appear to have accelerated, at least to the point where Japan is willing to discuss what a treaty might look like.

In his response to Abe on Wednesday Putin said: "I am delighted to be able to discuss with you all the angles of our cooperation, including those that you personally consider to be priorities."

Historically, Japan insists the islands, which were once inhabited by the Ainu indigenous people, have never belonged to anyone else.

Russia considers them spoils of war as agreed between then US president Franklin Roosevelt and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in 1945.

Strategically, control of the islands gives Russia year-round access to the Pacific Ocean for its Pacific fleet of warships and submarines based in Vladivostok, as the surrounding water does not freeze in winter.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp