Moscow, Sept. 9 (Jiji Press)–Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has expressed hope that Japan’s next leader will inherit outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s approach to the two countries’ negotiations to conclude a World War II peace treaty, Russia‘s Tass news agency reported Wednesday.
Peskov explained that the Russian side was favorably impressed by Abe’s stance of seeking to resolve a territorial dispute over four Russian-held islands that Japan calls its Northern Territories and seal the peace treaty through efforts to strengthen bilateral relations, according to the Tass report.
But at the same time, he said that the two countries unfortunately have not come close to resolving key bilateral issues during Abe’s tenure.
Peskov said Russia expects Abe’s successor to at least maintain efforts to develop bilateral ties, in order to settle the territorial row.
The Russian government has been hardening its stance on the territorial issue recently, but it also seems to believe that maintaining summit-level dialogue with Japan is useful for dealing with the Group of Seven countries.
Peskov’s mention of the territorial issue apparently reflects Moscow’s strategy of having Japan maintain the bilateral talks.