In the run up to the July 7-9 G8 summit on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, the Japanese press has been drawing international attention to the long-running territorial dispute, claiming Japan's right to the group of islands it calls the Northern Territories.
"The fundamental position of the Russian Federation is that the South Kuril Islands became part of our country as a result of the WWII and Russia's sovereignty over them, which has a corresponding international legalization, is unquestionable," Andrei Nesterenko said.
He said, however, that Russia recognizes the border dispute and is ready to continue "the patient and quiet search for a solution that would be acceptable to the people of Russia and Japan."
The lower part of the chain of Pacific islands stretching from the Kamchatka Peninsula on the Russian mainland to the north-east coast of Japan's Hokkaido island was annexed by the Soviet Union after World War II and the dispute has prevented the two countries from signing a formal peace agreement.
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The clash of Russian and Western interests has given rise to a geopolitical battle. German politicians are trying to leave all doors and windows open for dialogue with Russia. Moscow does acknowledge this, and Germany is probably the only country with which it is ready to discuss European security.