Russia hopes to solve territorial dispute with Japan by strengthening trust 2008-07-19 05:11:58   Print

    MOSCOW, July 18 (Xinhua) -- Russia believes its territorial dispute with Japan can be settled by "strengthening trust and mutual understanding," the Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday.

    The Japanese Education Ministry earlier this week published a study guide that recommends teachers to explain that the Southern Kurils are "the original Japanese territory illegally occupied by Russia."

    These actions "contribute neither to the development of positive cooperation between the two countries, nor to the settlement of the dispute," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

    It also called on Japan not to encourage the growth of confrontational attitudes towards Russia among the younger generation.

    Russia reaffirmed its sovereignty over the Southern Kurils before the recent G8 summit held in Japan, but said it was ready for talks with Japan on territorial issues.

    Territorial dispute between Russia and Japan on four islands in the Pacific Ocean has long dampened ties between the two countries, which also blocked them from entering a peace treaty after the World War II.

    The four islands, known as the Northern Territories in Japan and the Southern Kurils in Russia, were occupied by Soviet troops after the end of World War II and are currently under Russian control. Russia has agreed to give up two of them but Japan insisted on taking back all.

Editor: Yan Liang
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