Japan’s Shinzo Abe to sit down with Vladimir Putin with Kuril Islands in sight

Japan’s Shinzo Abe to sit down with Vladimir Putin with Kuril Islands in sight

Despite tensions over competing territorial claims, there has been a marked increase in formal dialogue between the two states this year.

putin abe meeting

Photo: AFP/Ivan Sekretarev

Today, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe joins the St Petersburg International Economic Forum as a guest of honour. Despite tensions over competing territorial claims, there has been a marked increase in formal dialogue between the two states this year.

The Forum began yesterday with delegates from over 100 countries. Alongside Abe, French President Emmanuel Macron and Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan will discuss the theme of today’s plenary session, “building economy of trust”. The forum holds great geopolitical weight in light of the US’ withdrawal from the Iran nuclear trade deal and proposed tariffs on Chinese imports. These “America First” foreign policies have brought together unlikely friends; despite historical tensions and animosity between East Asian states, Japan has shown unprecedented solidarity with China against the US.

In the wake of new US protectionist policies, expect the international community to seek support elsewhere. Later this week, France, Britain, Russia and China will meet to create a new multinational approach to the Iran nuclear issue; tomorrow, Putin and Abe will hold top-level talks, where they will likely sign a Peace Treaty and other documents to promote joint economic activity on the disputed South Kuril Islands and general economic cooperation.

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