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No solution to isles row without trust: Russia official

Moscow, Dec. 13 (Jiji Press) — There will be no solution to a decades-old territorial dispute between Japan and Russia before a relationship of trust is firmly established through economic cooperation, a highly placed Russian official close to President Vladimir Putin has suggested.

“We will reach a stage in the future where a solution acceptable to both sides can be found, by developing relations and creating an atmosphere of enhanced mutual trust,” the official said during an interview in Moscow with Jiji Press and other media organizations ahead of Putin’s visit to Japan for two days from Thursday.

The remark highlighted again Russia’s stance of giving priority to economic cooperation in its ties with Japan, while Japan is aiming for progress in efforts to solve the territorial dispute in coming talks between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Putin.

The Russian official criticized the sanctions Japan has imposed against Russia over the Ukrainian crisis.

“They (the sanctions) are impeding improvement of relations between the two countries,” the official said. With the sanctions in place, Russia cannot build a bilateral relationship with Japan that is equivalent to close Russia-China ties, the official added.

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