Thu, November 04, 2010
World > Asia-Pacific > Kuril islands dispute between Russian and Japan

No advice needed from Japan on visits to disputed islands: Lavrov

2010-11-03 17:25:23 GMT2010-11-04 01:25:23 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

MOSCOW, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday reiterated that no advice from Japan was needed about Russian leaders' visits to the disputed Pacific islands.

"It is difficult for me to add anything to what I have said on the subject. We don't need any advice on the subject," said Lavrov at a Wednesday press conference in Moscow.

Earlier in the day, Japanese Ambassador to Russia Masaharu Kono, who has returned to Tokyo, briefed Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara and other senior government officials on Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to the disputed Kunashiri Island held by Russia but claimed by Japan.

Kono was recalled by the Japanese government in protest against Medvedev's trip to one of the islands off Hokkaido, known as the Northern Territories in Japan and the Southern Kurils in Russia.

On Monday morning, Medvedev became the first leader from Russia or the former Soviet Union to set foot on any of the disputed Pacific islands.

"It is our land. The Russian president does not consult anyone when he chooses a region of the Russian Federation for his travels, " said Lavrov.

The Russian top diplomat also asked Tokyo not to raise artificial barriers to prevent the two sides from broadening cooperation.

"We are ready to promote cooperation with Japan in every possible way. We are not taking any steps that may complicate such cooperation and we hope that our Japanese colleagues will not raise artificial barriers to our mutually advantageous cooperation, either," he said.

Russia and Japan have long been at odds over the sovereignty of the islands, which has blocked a peace treaty between the two countries since the end of World War II.

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