Russian President Vladimir Putin said over the weekend that Japan’s security obligations to its allies must be assessed when discussing a pending post-World War II peace treaty between Moscow and Tokyo.
Putin has previously raised the possibility of U.S. forces, in line with the Japan-U.S. security treaty, being deployed on islands currently held by Russia and claimed by Japan if his country hands them over to Tokyo as part of a formal peace deal.
The dispute over ownership of the islands, which the Soviet Union occupied after Japan surrendered in 1945, has prevented the two countries from signing a peace treaty. The islands, northeast of Hokkaido, are called the Northern Territories in Japan and the Southern Kurils in Russia.
The peace treaty negotiations will likely take years, Putin told a news conference Saturday in Danang, Vietnam, where he held a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum summit.
During their meeting, the two leaders also discussed bilateral economic projects on the islands and North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.