MOSCOW, January 14. /TASS/. Russia calls for more efforts on bringing bilateral ties with Japan to an absolutely new level, and there are reserves for that, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday, opening talks with his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono.

“We are actively calling for carrying out additional efforts to bring bilateral relations to an absolutely new level – the level of trust, genuine partnership, including partnership in foreign policy affairs,” Lavrov said. “Reserves, especially in economic, investment sphere and reserves in security cooperation are truly inexhaustible.”

The Russian foreign minister noted that over the past years Russian-Japanese relations have gained a good pace and have been developing in a whole number of areas. Contacts between the heads of foreign and defense ministries, including in the “2+2” format and contacts at the level of security councils are held on a regular basis, Lavrov said. Not without difficulties related to external factors, trade and economic cooperation is developing, also on the basis of Russia’s priority investment list and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plan on cooperation in eight areas.

“A very rich program of cross years between Russia and Japan has been successfully implemented, which signals sincere desire of our citizens to deepen dialogue and contacts,” Lavrov stressed.

Putin-Abe agreements

The Japanese leadership should strictly abide by the agreements on a peace treaty reached by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Lavrov said.

Lavrov recalled that Putin and Abe had agreed to work on a peace treaty “in a professional way, without any attempts to distort accords, which are reached at a particular stage, and without whipping up contradictory unilateral rhetoric in public.”

“I would like to once again call on our Japanese colleagues to strictly adhere to the agreements of our leaders both on the form of organizing our talks and certainly on the issues of particular work on a peace treaty,” Lavrov said.

Lavrov said he had held numerous meetings with the Japanese foreign minister and the sides managed to create the atmosphere of mutual respect and trust. “We expect to have a frank and constructive discussion,” he said.

Putin’s visit Japan

Tokyo expects Russian President Vladimir Putin to visit Japan in June, Foreign Minister Taro Kono said.

“President Putin is expected to visit Japan in June to participate in the closing ceremony of the Japanese-Russian bilateral year, which both countries’ leaders will attend,” the Japanese top diplomat said.

“As for the Japanese-Russian bilateral year, which has already reached a turning point, it has contributed to strengthening cultural and humanitarian ties at various levels,” Taro Kono added. “As for parliamentary exchanges, they have been very active, as well as exchanges between the two countries’ regions,” he added.

In September 2018, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that he planned to hold a meeting with Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka in June 2019.

Tokyo and Moscow should take as much advantage as possible of bilateral relations’ huge potential, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said during talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.

He agreed with Lavrov that Japan and Russia had a huge potential to boost relations. “This is why we should build relations that would allow us to take as much advantage as possible of this potential,” he noted.

The Japanese top diplomat pointed to the successes Tokyo and Moscow had achieved in 2018. “In the past several months, a double taxation avoidance agreement entered into force, visa restrictions for Russian tourist groups were eased,” he said, adding that “besides, bilateral economic ties have been steadily progressing.”

The Japanese foreign minister also stressed that the Moscow meeting would focus on the peace treaty issue. “Today, the first in a series of meetings is taking place that we will hold as the officials responsible for the negotiation process at the order of our leaders who agreed to speed the process up, going beyond our previous position,” he said.

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