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Putin and Abe pledge to ‘reinforce cooperation’

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Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) welcomes Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Kremlin in Moscow on May 26, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / GRIGORY DUKOR

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday held talks with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as the leaders pledged to “reinforce cooperation” at a time of tension with the West.

“I am very pleased to have the opportunity to talk in detail on our bilateral relations and political cooperation,” Putin said as he greeted Abe in the Kremlin.

The two leaders already met this week on the sidelines of the Saint Petersburg Economic Forum where Abe was present as a guest of honour.

“Yesterday we discussed the advancement of economic and commercial ties” between Russia and Japan, Putin said.

Abe said Tokyo was “ready to reinforce cooperation in a calm but energetic manner” with Russia, according to Russian agencies.

He also said he hoped for a “new breakthrough” in settling the territorial dispute over the Kuril Islands, which has poisoned relations between the two countries since the end of the Second World War.

The Soviet Union seized the islands off Japan’s northern coast — called the Southern Kurils by Moscow and Northern Territories by Tokyo — in 1945 in the closing days of world War II.


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