Moscow, Tokyo May Broach Russian Military Deployment to Kurils at '2+2' Talks

© Sputnik / Ekaterina Chesnokova / Go to the mediabankA village in Yuzhno-Kurilsk on Kunashir Island of the Greater Kuril Ridge
A village in Yuzhno-Kurilsk on Kunashir Island of the Greater Kuril Ridge - Sputnik International
Moscow and Tokyo may broach the issue of Russia deploying a division to its Kuril Islands if the Japanese side is interested in the matter, Russia's deputy foreign minister said.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Upcoming "2+2" format consultations between the Russian and Japanese foreign and defense ministers could address the possible deployment of a Russian Defense Ministry division on the Kuril Islands, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday.

"If this raises questions for Tokyo, then I think they can be raised during the upcoming '2+2' format meetings," Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov told Japan's Jiji Press news service underscoring that the planned deployment is Russia's sovereign right.

The "2+2" defense and foreign ministerial consultations are scheduled to be held in Tokyo on Monday, March 20.

"But partners must too be prepared to give explanations on the issues, available to the Russian side, of Japan's military development," Morgulov added.

Skyline of central Tokyo - Sputnik International
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In February, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that the ministry would deploy a division on the Kuril Islands this year. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Tokyo had sent a note of protest over the plans.

Moscow and Tokyo have never signed a permanent peace treaty after the World War II due to Tokyo's claims to a group of Russia's Southern Kurils islands. In December 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a second round of talks on resolving the dispute. The two leaders agreed to create a special regime on the islands leading to the implementation of joint economic projects in the area.

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