Moscow and Tokyo continue to work on peace treaty, vows Putin's spokesman

China takes center stage at opening of Russia’s Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok

China takes center stage at opening of Russia’s Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok

"Clearly, it is waiting for some sort of signal in response", Putin told an economic forum in the far eastern city of Vladivostok.

"It is not a joke", Putin added, suggesting the two countries commit to solving the territorial dispute in the text of the peace deal.

Shinzo Abe made the announcement Wednesday, while speaking at an economic forum in Russian Federation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was late to a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe by about two and a half hours, according to multiple Japanese press reports.

"I don't want to comment on what President Putin said", Suga said at a regular briefing in Tokyo.

Fresh from his pancake diplomacy date with China's President Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin served up the main dish on Wednesday - a possible breakthrough in Russian-Japanese relations. So far, this diplomatic roadblock has stopped the two countries from signing a peace accord.

"Let us walk together mindful of the questions 'If we don't do it now, then when?' And 'if we don't do it, then who will?'" Abe said, speaking before Putin.

A former Russian deputy foreign minister, Georgy Kunadze, said he doubted that Putin wanted to solve the territorial problem in earnest. "Okay", Mr Putin said, before proposing they sign a peace treaty. "This stance hasn't changed".

FILE PHOTO: A message board reads messages demanding for the return of a group of islands, called Northern Territories by Japan and Southern Kuriles by Russian Federation, is displayed in Nemuro, in Japan's nothern island of Hokkaido, April 14, 2017. "We have been negotiating for 70 years", Putin said.

The Japanese prime minister for his part said the two countries "have a duty to future generations". The Kuril Islands issue remains the sticking point since after WWII the islands were handed over to the Soviet Union while Japan has laid claims to the four southern islands.

Russian Federation began its biggest war games since the fall of the Soviet Union on Tuesday close to its border with China, mobilising 300,000 troops in a show of force that will include joint exercises with the Chinese army.China and Russian Federation have staged joint drills before but not on such a large scale, and the Vostok-2018 (East-2018) exercise signals closer military ties as well as sending an unspoken reminder to Beijing that Moscow is able and ready to defend its sparsely populated far east.

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