Russia slams 'unacceptable' Japan comments on Kuril Islands

30th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Japan's condemnation of a plan for President Dmitry Medvedev to visit the disputed Kuril Islands chain is "inappropriate and unacceptable", the Russian foreign ministry said on Thursday.

"The president of Russia himself determines the itinerary of trips inside his own country," ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko told reporters.

"Any kind of advice from outside in this respect is inappropriate and unacceptable," he added.

Medvedev had the day earlier announced on a trip to Russia's Far East that he intended to visit the Kuril Islands in the near future and had only been prevented from doing so this time by bad weather.

Japan's Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara promptly warned that a presidential visit to the islands would "severely hurt ties".

The Kuril Islands, which lie north of Japan's Hokkaido island, have been controlled by Moscow since they were seized by Soviet troops in 1945 but Tokyo still claims the southernmost four islands as Japanese territory.

© 2010 AFP

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