Japan PM to visit Russia for summit with Putin next month


 Reuters International

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during the opening ceremony of the CeBit computer fair, which will open its doors to the public on March 20, at the fairground in Hanover, Germany, March 19, 2017. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Russia in late April for a summit with President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said on Monday.

Abe has pledged to resolve a decades-old territorial dispute with Russia over a string of western Pacific islands, seized by Soviet troops at the end of World War Two, in the hope of building better ties to counter a rising China.

The feud has precluded a formal peace treaty between the two countries.

Talking to reporters after a security meeting among foreign and defence ministers from Japan and Russia, Kishida also said the two sides had agreed to demand that North Korea, which has carried out a series of nuclear and missile tests in defiance of UN sanctions, halt such actions.

"We had in-depth talks today over North Korea's nuclear and missile issues and agreed to demand strongly that North Korea refrain from further provocations and observe U.N. Security Council resolutions," Kishida said.

North Korea's official media said on Sunday the reclusive state had tested a new high-thrust engine, which an analyst said was a dangerous step towards the North's goal of developing a rocket that could hit the United States.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Nick Macfie and Clarence Fernandez)

Reuters

 Reuters International