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 main event of the third day of the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was the closing session with President Vladimir Putin. The atmosphere was calm and open, despite the current political tensions and the Russia-West confrontation. The Russian president said that it corresponded to the spirit of the Valdai Club.