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

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin

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

As a key member in Northeast Asia, China has presented a responsible and constructive image of a major country to the rest of the world by consistently participating in regional cooperation, promoting communication and dialogue among nations in the region, and creating a harmonious and friendly environment, Wang said.

"I intend to visit China this year, the year in which we commemorate the 40th anniversary of the conclusion of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China", Abe said in a speech at an economic forum in the far eastern Russian city of Vladivostok.

Suga also said Putin had not mentioned the proposal during a summit meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday.

Their two countries have been in dispute for seven decades over a chain of Pacific islands and as a result have still not formally ended their World War II hostilities.

With kitchen aprons on, Putin and Xi fried traditional Russian pancakes - also known as bliny - and tried them with seafood delicacies including red and black caviar.

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President Xi highlighted that the two countries share common interests in many global issues, . and called for the need to cooperate more going forward. "Let's conclude a peace agreement - not now but by the end of the year, without any preconditions", Putin said.

In Moscow, Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov told Russian news agencies that Putin's announcement would not require any changes to the current format of negotiations.

In the past, Russian Federation and Japan have proposed initiating various joint economic projects on the disputed islands as a first step in resolving the conflict. "This stance hasn't changed".

Still, a former Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Georgy Kunadze, felt this could be political posturing from Putin.

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.

Meeting Abe on the sidelines of the forum in Vladivostok two days earlier, Putin had told the Japanese prime minister that "it would be naive to think that it can be resolved quickly". "We have been negotiating for 70 years", Putin said.

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