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Japanese FM snubs Russia's caution over islands dispute

02-16-2011 07:28 BJT

TOKYO, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara on Tuesday snubbed cautionary comments made by Sergei Naryshkin, chief of staff of the Russian Presidential Executive Office, over the disputed four islands off the northeast coast of Japan's Hokkaido Prefecture.

Addressing a news conference, Maehara said he told Naryshkin in Moscow that Japan felt "extreme regret" over visits by Medvedev and other Russian dignitaries to the disputed islands and that remarks by high-ranking officials that Russia will continue to control the area as its territory, were also "regrettable."

Maehara reiterated his view that the four islands in question are unequivocally an "integral part of Japan in terms of history and international law."

On Saturday Naryshkin told Meahara, who was on a visit in Moscow, that Tokyo's recent public statements over trips made by Russian leadership representatives to the disputed islands and Tokyo's continued unfounded territorial claims, coupled with the unacceptable anti-Russian performances of nationalist elements, " could not but meet with an adequate reaction of the Russian side."

Naryshkin was referring to comments made by Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan last week describing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to one of the four disputed islands last November as "an unforgivable outrage."

He was also making reference to the alleged desecration and burning of a Russian flag by Japanese nationalists during an annual state-backed rally called Northern Territories Day, at which Kan also demanded the return of the islands to Japan from Russia.

Naryshkin warned Maehara that these circumstances have resulted in the fact that there is "no sense to continue the discussion of the territorial issue".

The islands of Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan and the Habomai rocks are believed by Japan to be a part of the Nemuro Subprefecture of Hokkaido Prefecture and are referred to by Japan as the Northern Territories.

Russia maintains that the islands that they refer to as the Southern Kurils are their territory with the Russian premier stating recently that not only are the islands a "strategic region " of Russia but that they would soon be home to some of Russia's most advanced weaponry.

The dispute over sovereignty is largely concerned with the somewhat ambiguous San Francisco Peace Treaty between the Allied Powers and Japan inked in 1951.

The territorial dispute has prevented the two countries from signing a postwar peace treaty.



Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: Xinhua

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