Moscow voices protest over Tokyo depicting Russia’s South Kuril Islands as Japanese at G20

The Russian Foreign Ministry has lodged an official protest with the Japanese embassy after Tokyo showed the South Kuril Islands – Russia’s sovereign territory – as Japanese in various media materials at the latest G20 summit.

The Foreign Ministry handed a protest note to the Japanese diplomats on July 2, the ministry’s spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said at a briefing on Thursday, describing Tokyo’s actions as “abuse of its G20 presidency role.” Moscow once again noted that Japan’s territorial claims are “unsubstantiated” and go against existing international agreements.

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“Such actions run counter to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s repeatedly declared intention to avoid any steps that could… negatively affect the atmosphere of Russian-Japanese relations,” Zakharova said.

A series of videos called ‘Inspiring cities of Japan’, which was published by the Japanese government’s website and posted on YouTube by the official account of the Prime Minister’s Office of Japan ahead of the G20 summit starting from late February, show a map of Japan which includes two of the southernmost Kuril Islands – Iturup and Kunashir – as part of Japanese territory. One of the videos was also published on the G20 2019 summit’s official website.

Tokyo has so far not issued any statements in response to the Russian note.

The longstanding territorial dispute over the Kuril Islands has been one of the major stumbling blocks in relations between Russia and Japan that has so far prevented the two nations from signing a formal post-WWII peace treaty.

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The USSR and Japan ended World War II hostilities in 1945 with an armistice that was not followed by a peace treaty. Known in Japan as Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan, and Habomai, the islands in the Sea of Okhotsk were handed over to the Soviet Union under the 1945 Potsdam Declaration.

Since then, Tokyo has tried to claim the four Russian Kuril Islands, known in Japan as the ‘Northern Territories’. Japan has also talked about the prospects of regaining sovereignty over the southernmost part of the archipelago, which includes Shikotan and Habomai.

In 1956, a non-binding declaration signed by Japan and the USSR envisaged the prospects of a sovereignty handover, though its wording is vague. Still, the document says the move would be possible only after the two sides sign a peace treaty. However, Tokyo maintains that the territorial dispute should be resolved first. Moscow has repeatedly insisted that its sovereignty over the islands cannot be a bargaining chip.

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‘Great term, isn’t it?’ Putin and Trump bond over ‘fake news’

Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin shared a laugh at the G20 Summit in Japan when the Russian leader quipped that “fake news” is not strictly an American phenomenon.

The two heads of state gave a short press conference before their closed-door meeting at the G20 Summit in the city of Osaka Friday. When the subject moved to shoddy journalism, President Trump took American reporters to task.

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“Get rid of them,” Trump said. “Fake news is a great term, isn’t it? You don’t have this problem in Russia, but we do.”

“We also have,” Putin replied in English. “It’s the same.”

Among President Trump’s many catchphrases and slogans, ‘fake news’ has come to symbolize his frequent battles with the press. Critics, especially in the media, say the president simply hates transparency.

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Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump To Discuss Iran, Arms At G20 Summit: Kremlin

Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin and US leader Donald Trump will discuss arms control and Iran and Syria crises on the sidelines of this week's G20 summit in Japan, the Kremlin said Wednesday.

Putin is also set to have talks with outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, foreign policy aide Yury Ushakov told journalists.

Putin and Trump will meet in Japan's western city of Osaka on Friday.

"As far as the subject of discussions is concerned, a lot depends on the leaders," Ushakov told reporters, adding that they are also likely to touch upon "strategic stability" and Ukraine.

The two leaders are also expected to discuss arms control including New START, a key nuclear weapons agreement that caps the number of nuclear warheads.

Putin said this month that Washington showed no genuine interest in conducting talks on extending the agreement and said Russia was prepared to drop the pact.

The Russian president will meet Britain's May after suggesting that it was time to "turn the page" on the countries' difficult relationship after the poisoning of a former Russian spy in the English city of Salisbury last year.

Putin and May previously met for formal talks on the sidelines of a G20 summit in China in 2016.

Putin and the Saudi Crown Prince will discuss the Russian leader's visit to the kingdom planned for October, while talks with Erdogan will focus on Russia's supplies of S-400 missiles that angered the United States.

Putin is also expected to meet with France's Emmanuel Macron and Germany's Angela Merkel and have a trilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping and India's Narendra Modi.

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Kremlin says Putin, Trump to hold substantive meeting at G20 in Argentina

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S President Donald Trump will meet for a long session on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina in a month’s time, a Kremlin aide said on Friday.

A separate meeting between the leaders on Nov. 11 during events in Paris to commemorate the centenary of the end of World War One would be short, said the aide, Yuri Ushakov.

The two leaders have not met face-to-face since a bilateral summit in July in Helsinki that stirred anger in the United States, where Trump was accused of cozying up to the Kremlin.

Asked how long Moscow expected the meeting with Trump to last in Paris, Ushakov told reporters the meeting would be short but that a later meeting on the sidelines of the G20, taking place over Nov 30 and Dec 1, would be “lengthy and substantive”.

The White House had no immediate comment.

U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton said this week following a trip to Moscow that the White House had formally invited Putin to Washington next year.

Speaking in ex-Soviet Georgia on Oct. 26, Bolton said that the Paris meeting would be brief and more of “a base-touching exercise”.

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Putin & Trump expected to establish dialogue vital for whole world at G20 meeting – Kremlin

The long-awaited meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart, Donald Trump, is expected to lay the groundwork for a working dialogue, which is vital for resolving the world’s conflicts, the Kremlin said.

“This is the first meeting, the first encounter of the two presidents, this is the main thing in this meeting,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday, commenting on the Kremlin’s expectations for the upcoming meeting between Putin and Trump at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany on July 7.

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“[We have] expectations of establishing a working dialogue, which is probably vital for all the world in terms of improving efficiency in resolving a critical mass of conflicts and problems, which is growing day by day,” Peskov went on.

The Russian leader is preparing for the meeting with Trump the same way he is preparing for similar events at the G20, Peskov added. Putin will also meet French President Emmanuel Macron, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, among other world leaders during the two-day summit.

The conflicts in Syria and Ukraine and ways of resolving them are possibly among the other issues on the agenda during the first meeting between the two leaders, according to Peskov.

“I think that [the two leaders will discuss] the Syrian [conflict] resolution, the Astana process, and the issues of possible Russian-American cooperation,” Peskov said, adding that the joint fight against terrorism will be discussed if the US is ready for it. The presidents may also discuss the Syrian settlement.

As for the Ukrainian issue, the meeting will provide “a great opportunity to repeat the Russian position on the fact that there is no alternative to the Minsk agreements, the necessity to implement the agreements and taking measures to stop the provocations, which unfortunately occur from the Ukrainian Armed Forces.”

Despite the full format of the bilateral meeting, Peskov said that it will be time-limited, as it will take place in the framework of the G20 summit. The Russian president will not have an opportunity to fully express his understanding of the Ukrainian conflict and its reasons.

On Tuesday, both Moscow and Washington confirmed that Putin and Trump will hold their first full-fledged meeting at the G20 summit on July 7. The Kremlin pointed out that it will not merely be a brief contact on the sidelines, but “a full-fledged ‘sit down’ meeting.” Previously, the leaders spoke only by phone.

The Trump-Putin meeting is grabbing attention in light of souring Russian-American relations, which are currently “at the zero mark,” according to Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov. Moscow and Washington have been at loggerheads, especially after Trump’s order to launch launched 59 Tomahawk missiles at Syria’s Shayrat Airbase near the city of Homs on April 7. The move was justified by Washington, accusing the Syrian government of carrying out a chemical attack on Khan Shaykhun, which killed dozens of people. Damascus has denied those allegations, while Moscow has repeatedly called for an international investigation into the incident to be conducted.

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Paris Attacks Dominate Start of G20 Summit in Turkey

ANTALYA, Turkey – The 10th G20 Summit got under way on Sunday in this Turkish seaside resort town and the focus of the initial sessions was the fight against international terrorism in the wake of last week’s attacks in Paris that killed 132 people and wounded hundreds more.

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