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Russia Rejects Japan Warning On Disputed Islands


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on November 3 asserted Russia's claim to the islands.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on November 3 asserted Russia's claim to the islands.

Russia has rejected a warning from Japan that Russian leaders should make no further visits to disputed North Pacific islands that are claimed by both Moscow and Tokyo.

Japan issued the warning following Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit November 1 to one of the islands, which are known as the Southern Kuriles in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on November 3 asserted Russia's claim to the islands, saying the Russian president "does not take advice from anyone" on which region of Russia he should visit.

"We don't need any advice on this matter,” Lavrov told reporters in Moscow. “It's our land. The Russian president does not take advice from anyone when he chooses which Russian region he will visit."

The islands were occupied by Soviet troops at the end of World War II, but Tokyo has claimed the southernmost four as Japanese territory.

The territorial dispute has been a factor preventing Moscow and Tokyo from signing a peace treaty to formally end their war hostilities.

compiled from agency reports

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