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Putin, Abe Hail 'Substantive Dialogue' On Kurile Islands Standoff


Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met in Osaka after the conclusion of the G20 summit.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to expand bilateral economic ties but failed to make progress toward a peace agreement to formally end World War II.

The two leaders met in Osaka, Japan, on June 29, after the conclusion of the Group of 20 summit.

Abe told journalists following the talks that the two men expressed a shared determination to resolve the territorial dispute over the four southernmost Kurile Islands that the Soviet Union seized from Japan in the closing days of the war.

Japan never recognized the move and considers the islands its "Northern Territories."

The leaders agreed to move forward on joint economic activities on the disputed islands.

Abe also announced a simplified visa procedure for Russian businesspeople and tourists traveling to Japan.

Putin noted that a "substantive dialogue" was under way on the territorial issues and that "this dialogue will continue."

He added that the agreements that were reached would build confidence and facilitate "finding mutually acceptable solutions to the most complex issues."

The Russian president also invited Abe to attend the Eastern Economic Forum in the Far Eastern Russian port city of Vladivostok in September.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and TASS
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