Russian officials “will continue visiting Kuriles” despite Tokyo protests – Lavrov

Russian officials “will continue visiting Kuriles” despite Tokyo protests – Lavrov

PanARMENIAN.Net - Russian state and government officials will continue visiting the Kuril Islands, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday, July 28, RIA Novosti said.

“Russia cannot accept the protests that have come from Tokyo,” he said, responding to a request form a Japanese reporter to comment on Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s recent trip to the Kuril Islands that has provoked a highly negative reaction in Japan.

“Protests are not conducive to normal dialog,” Lavrov said at a news conference after a meeting with the Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba. “Not a single issue can be solved amid ultimatums and the ratcheting up of tension.”

“My answer to the question of whether Russian officials will refrain from visits [to the Kurils] is, ‘No,’” he said.

Earlier in July, Medvedev arrived in Kunashir, just north of Japan's Hokkaido Island, for his second trip to the disputed Kuril Islands, which the Soviet Union annexed after World War II. Japan claims Kunashir, Shikotan, the Habomai Islets and Iturup as its territory.

In 2010, Medvedev sparked a diplomatic row with Tokyo by making the first ever visit by a Russian leader to the islands. He later said Russia would increase its military presence there. Japan's then prime minister Naoto Kan called Medvedev's visit "inexcusable rudeness."

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