Added by James Morley on October 1, 2010
Andrei Nesterenko, the spokesperson of the Russian Foreign Ministry, strongly rejected Japan’s claims to the Pacific islands referred to as ‘South Kurils’ by Moscow and ‘Northern Territories’ by Tokyo.
These Pacific islands lying to the northeast of Japan were occupied by Russian troops during the end of the Second World War. Though Russia and Japan have political and economic ties, disputes over this territory have remained a continuous reason for tension between these two nations and have prevented them from signing a peace treaty.
This Wednesday, Dmitry Medvedev, President of Russia said that his scheduled trip to Kurlis, on his way back from China, had to be aborted due to bad weather.
He further said that he would be soon planning a trip to these islands and according to Reuters he referred to the territory as “an important region of our country”. This called for Seiji Maehara, Japan’s Foreign Minister, to state that such a trip might adversely and severely impact bilateral relations.
Moscow retorted by saying that in fact such threats from Japan might harm ties.
The Russian President would decide which parts of his country he would visit and any suggestion from Japan in this context would be considered “inappropriate and unacceptable”. Reuters quoted Nesterenko as “We consider it necessary to once again state that these islands are the territory of the Russian Federation”, and Japan should “avoid repeating dead-end positions” about these islands.