Russia's Medvedev to meet Japan's PM: spokeswoman

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will hold a bilateral meeting with Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC), Medvedev's spokeswoman said on Friday.

Medvedev visited one of islands disputed by both nations on November 1, sparking a diplomatic row between the two countries ahead of the APEC summit.

"The timing is still being agreed. They will discuss Russian-Japanese relationship," Natalya Timakova told reporters, adding that Russian position on the disputed islands has not changed.

She said that the Japanese traditionally raise the territorial dispute issue at such meetings.

The Soviet Union occupied the four disputed islands, known as the Southern Kuriles in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan, at the end of World War Two and the territorial row has weighed on relations between Tokyo and Moscow ever since, preventing the signing of a formal peace treaty.

Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara said last month that such a visit by Medvedev would "severely harm" relations.

Russia's foreign ministry responded that Japan's claim to the islands was a "dead-end."

The island chain stretches northeast from Japan's main northern island of Hokkaido to Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula.

source AFP

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