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Abe tells Putin no US military bases on disputed islands, report

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Abe Putin ASEAN
Russian
President Vladimir Putin, right, and Japanese Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe pose for a photo during the ASEAN-Russia Summit in the
ongoing 33rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits, November 14,
2018.

AP

  • Shinzo Abe told Vladimir Putin the US won’t be allowed to
    build military bases on four disputed Russian islands if they’re
    given back to Japan.
  • The islands were taken by the Soviet Union in 1945 and Japan
    wants them back.
  • But post-war agreements between the US and Japan suggest the
    US can build military bases anywhere on Japanese soil. 
  • The leaders were talking in Singapore on Wednesday and both
    committed to resolving the issue, the Asahi Shimbun reported.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Vladimir Putin on
Wednesday he won’t let the US build any military bases on a group
of long-disputed islands after Russia returns them to Japan.

At a summit in Singapore, Putin and Abe agreed to accelerate
talks over Russia’s return of the Southern Kuril islands — four
small Russian islands half way between Japan and Russia — and Abe
assured Putin no US military troops would get anywhere near
there, The Asahi
Shimbun reported
.

The Southern Kuril islands off the northern Japanese island of
Hokkaido were taken by the Soviet Union in 1945 after World
War II.

Abe said: “This issue, which has existed for more than 70 years
since the end of the war, will be solved by Putin and me, and not
left for the next generation. President Putin and I completely
shared that strong desire,”
Bloomberg reported.

But the post-war agreement between Japan and the US could prove
problematic, as the US can seek to build military bases in Japan
due to the Japan-US Security Treaty and Japan-US Status of Forces
Agreement (SOFA,) the Asahi Shimbun reported. 

The agreements say the US has a duty to protect Japan, which
includes a prerogative to built military bases.

Wednesday’s talks are late culmination of the 1956
joint-declaration where the Soviet Union promised it would give
Japan two of those islands.

The declaration wasn’t a peace treaty though, and Abe has
previously said he won’t sign that treaty until the islands are
Japanese again, the
Associated Press reported.
Putin AbeRussia’s
President Putin and Japan’s PM Abe shake hands before their talks
in Beijing, China.
Reuters/Kyodo


Read more:

PHOTOS: This is how Russian President Vladimir Putin spent his
first 24 hours in Singapore

Abe’s promise on Wednesday is an attempt to sweeten the proposal,
but Putin has previously been less forward about the deal.

Russian news agency TASS quoted Putin saying the 1956 declaration
“certainly demands separate, additional, and in depth analysis,
given that not everything is clear in that Declaration,”
Reuters reported
, citing TASS. 

Abe and Putin are set to meet again on November 30 at a G20
summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and when Abe goes to Russia in
early 2019. 

Abe has said he wants the issue resolved before his tenure ends
in 2021, the Asahi Shimbun said. 

Japan claims the Soviet Union booted out 17,000 Japanese
residents when they took the islands in 1945. 

Japanese people call the islands the Northern Territories and
Russians call them the Southern Kuriles.

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