Russian, Japanese foreign ministers discuss disputed …

Russian, Japanese foreign ministers discuss controversial islands

Associated Press

MOSCOW (AP) – The foreign ministers of Russia and Japan hold talks on disputed islands in the Pacific.

The Soviet Union occupied the four southernmost Kuril Islands during the last days of the Second World War. Japan confirms territorial rights on the islands, which it calls the northern areas, and the dispute has prevented both countries from signing a peace treaty.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have agreed to resume talks about a 1956 Soviet proposal to bring two of the islands back to Japan. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Japanese counterpart Taro Kono met on Monday to pave the way for Abe's Moscow visit later this month.

In view of the upcoming hard talks, Moscow has recently been concerned about Japanese statements about a possible agreement, in which Tokyo was warned of "artificially inciting the atmosphere."

The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, welcomes the Japanese Foreign Minister, Taro Kono, for the talks in Moscow, Russia, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko)

The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, welcomes the Japanese Foreign Minister, Taro Kono, for the talks in Moscow, Russia, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, judge, and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono enter a room for their talks in Moscow, Russia, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, judge, and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono enter a room for their talks in Moscow, Russia, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, judge, and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono enter a room for their talks in Moscow, Russia, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, judge, and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono enter a room for their talks in Moscow, Russia, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, judge, and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono enter a room for their talks in Moscow, Russia, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, judge, and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono enter a room for their talks in Moscow, Russia, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, speaks with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono during their talks in Moscow, Russia, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, speaks with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono during their talks in Moscow, Russia, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, speaks with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono during their talks in Moscow, Russia, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko)

The Japanese Foreign Minister, Taro Kono, speaks with Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov during their talks in Moscow, Russia, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko)

The Japanese Foreign Minister, Taro Kono, speaks with Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov during their talks in Moscow, Russia, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko)

The Japanese Foreign Minister, Taro Kono, speaks with Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov during their talks in Moscow, Russia, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko)

The Japanese Foreign Minister, Taro Kono, speaks with Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov during their talks in Moscow, Russia, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko)

The Japanese Foreign Minister, Taro Kono, speaks with Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov during their talks in Moscow, Russia, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko)

The Japanese Foreign Minister, Taro Kono, speaks with Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov during their talks in Moscow, Russia, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, judge, and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono enter a room for their talks in Moscow, Russia, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, judge, and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono enter a room for their talks in Moscow, Russia, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, judge, and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono enter a room for their talks in Moscow, Russia, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, speaks with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, black for a camera, during their talks in Moscow, Russia, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, speaks with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, black for a camera, during their talks in Moscow, Russia, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, speaks with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, black for a camera, during their talks in Moscow, Russia, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko)

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