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Moscow-Tokyo easing of tensions in bilateral talks today in Japan

Cooperation on various topics. But there remains the friction on the Kurils

Several signs of easing of tensions between Moscow and Tokyo that arrive in these hours, the fourth round of talks between Foreign and Defense ministers of Russia and Japan opened today in Tokyo, where Russia is represented by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and by that of the Defense Sergei Shoigu. Foreign Minister Taro Kono and Takeshi Iwaya for defense represent the Japanese side in the talks. First of all the news announced in a conference with the press on the sidelines of the work by Takeshi Iwaya, who declared that after 18 years of coldness was agreed "a visit to Japan by the commander in chief of the Russian naval forces for the second half of this year".

This sudden climate of détente a few days after President Trump's official visit to Japan is also highlighted by the community of views highlighted by Lavrov, who said: "We have common positions on the situation on the Korean peninsula and are in favour of its complete denuclearization" (theme also recently addressed by Trump and Shinzo Abe, see AVIONEWS). The minister noted that the problems of this peninsula should be solved radically both through dialogue between the United States and North Korea, and between North Korea and South Korea, "and in the context of multilateral efforts to create an area of peace and security in Northeast Asia".

"We will continue to discuss cooperation on measures against non-traditional threats, on nuclear disarmament, on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, on regional and international security issues, and we want to further develop cooperation between Russia and Japan on the international scene", he said in his turn the head of the Japanese Foreign Ministry Taro Kono.

Furthermore, Iwaya has assured that "our country's missile defense systems, including the Aegis Ashore complexes, are purely defensive and do not put Russia at risk". The minister also informed about an "agreement to hold a joint Russian-Japanese research and rescue exercise (Sar, Search and rescue) in mid-June this year in Vladivostok. We hope these events will help to build trust among the units of both countries".

The delicate table of the Kuril archipelago was also discussed at it (a quarrel between the two countries, of which Japan claims the four southern islands that the Tokyo government calls "the northern territories", or Kunashir, Shikotan, Etorofu and Habomai). Lavrov, commenting heavily on Japan's concern about Russia's military activity in the Kurils of the South, recalled that the Russian Armed Forces are working "on their territory". On the subject, friction returns to be felt, so much so that Kono in return pointed out that Tokyo considers the strengthening of Russia's military and missile presence in the south of the archipelago (the northern territories for Japan, precisely) unacceptable.

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