Medvedev plans 'active' role in Japan APEC summit

4th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday said he is looking to play an active role in this month's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum summit, despite a diplomatic row with its host Japan.

Medvedev infuriated Japan on Monday by making the first trip by a Russian leader to one of four Pacific Kuril Islands at the heart of a territorial dispute that has prevented the signing of a post-war peace treaty.

The dispute -- the worst between the two countries in years -- threatens to overshadow the November 13-14 APEC meeting to be held in the port city of Yokohama just outside Tokyo.

But in a possible attempt to calm tensions, Medvedev has written to Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan thanking him for his invitation to take part in the summit, the Kremlin said in a statement.

"I intend to take an active part in the discussions around the main topic of the Japanese (APEC) chairmanship -- Changes and Actions," Medvedev wrote.

"I expect we will succeed in adopting a number of joint measures to overcome the consequences of the global economic crisis and find the best model of development in the APEC region."

The extracts of the letter released by the Kremlin did not make any reference to the Kuril Islands dispute or say if Medvedev would have a bilateral meeting with Kan.

Japan this week recalled its ambassador to Moscow and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov fanned the flames by saying that Medvedev intended to visit more islands in the archipelago.

The Kuril Islands, which lie north of Japan's Hokkaido island, have been controlled by Moscow since they were seized by Soviet troops at the end of World War II, but Tokyo claims the southernmost four as Japanese territory.

Medvedev on Monday flew in to Kunashir, known as Kunashiri in Japan, one of the four islands at the heart of the dispute.

© 2010 AFP

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