PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, January 13. /TASS/. The United States’ role in the bilateral dialogue between Russia and Japan is not clear as this dialogue has never involved that country, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Sunday.

“A third party has suddenly emerged in this bilateral dialogue that is being established thanks to the political will of our country’s leadership. And want is most astonishing is that we hear strange statements made by the Japanese side in the US territory that Japan wants the United States’ support, that it expects its involvement in the entire dialogue on the problem of the peace treaty with Russia. What the United States has to do with it? We have bilateral dialogue that is developing at many levels. Notably, when it comes to the bilateral dialogue, it is proceeding in a due course. The United States has nothing to do with that and its role is unclear,” she said in an interview with the Voskresny Vecher (Sunday Evening) program on the Rossiya-1 television channel.

Katsuyuki Kawai, special advisor for Foreign Affairs to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, said at the Hudson Institute in Washington on Tuesday that his country hopes for the US’ support to the efforts towards signing a peace treaty with Russia as an instrument of containing China.

At a meeting in Singapore on November 14, 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to invigorate the peace treaty talks on the basis on the 1956 declaration on ceasing the state of war.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is expected to meet with his Japanese counterpart, Taro Kono, on January 14. According to the Russian foreign ministry, the key condition for signing the peace treaty is Japan’s unconditional recognition of the outcomes of World War II, including Russia’s sovereignty over the South Kuril Islands.

Since the mid-20th century, Russia and Japan have been negotiating a peace treaty after World War II. The main stumbling block to this is the issue of the ownership of the southern Kuril Islands. After the end of World War II, all Kuril Islands were incorporated into the Soviet Union. However, Japan challenged the ownership of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan islands and a number of uninhibited islands of the Lesser Kuril Ridge called the Habomai Islands in Japan.

In 1956, the Soviet Union and Japan signed a joint declaration on ceasing the state of war. The two countries resumed diplomatic and other relations, however no peace treaty has been signed until now. The Soviet Union committed to paper in the declaration its readiness to hand over Shikotan, Habomai and a number of uninhibited small islands to Japan as a gesture of good will after the peace treaty is ultimately signed.

However following Japan’s signing a security treaty with the United States in 1960, the former Soviet Union revoked its liabilities concerning the transference of islands. The Soviet government said back then that the islands would be handed over to Japan only when all foreign forces were withdrawn from its territory.

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