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Russia's Medvedev To Meet Japanese Leader Amid Tensions

Kunashiri Island, one of four islands known as the Southern Kuriles
A spokeswoman for Dmitry Medvedev says the Russian president intends to meet with Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum this weekend.

The November 13-14 forum is being held in the Japanese city of Yokohama.

Fresh tensions between Moscow and Tokyo were sparked when Medvedev on November 1 visited one of a set of islands that are claimed by both Russia and Japan.

Medvedev spokeswoman Natalya Timakova told reporters that in their meeting, Medvedev and Kan would discuss the Russian-Japanese relationship. She added that Moscow's position that the disputed islands belong to Russia has not changed.

The islands, known as the Southern Kuriles in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan, 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