VLADIVOSTOK, Russia, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- Russia and Japan have agreed to continue dialogue and sign a peace treaty in the foreseeable future, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday.
"The most important thing for Japanese-Russian relations is the conclusion of a peace treaty, (Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin said so during his visit to Japan. This time, we came to a new resolution to sign a peace treaty with our own hands," Abe said following talks with Putin on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) held here.
The Japanese prime minister said he and Putin had also agreed to have another meeting at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit to be held in Vietnam in November.
"We intend to maintain dialogue with him, taking advantage of every opportunity," he said.
Earlier at the plenary session of the EEF, Abe urged the two countries to improve bilateral ties and end the abnormal situation concerning the long-delayed peace treaty.
"A number of things that Russia and Japan could not achieve over the last 70 years were set to motion in the past single year. And if we continue our steps forward for another year and then another after that, then we will see a bright future in which the potential of Japan-Russia relations will be fully revealed," Abe said.
Towards this end, Russia and Japan must put an end to "the unnatural state of affairs" of still not having a peace treaty, he said, adding that the two countries should try and carve out a new era for bilateral relations.
Putin confirmed that he and Abe discussed the peace treaty issue, specifying on the prospect of joint economic activities with Japan on the controversial islands in the Pacific.
"Several promising projects that are ready for implementation first have now been selected. We are talking about cooperation in the areas of aquaculture, electrical power, the creation of greenhouse facilities, garbage disposal, and the development of package tours," he said.
Russia and Japan both claim a group of islands off Japan's northern prefecture of Hokkaido, called the Northern Territories in Japan and the Southern Kurils in Russia.
The decade-old territorial spat has prevented the two countries from signing a post-World War II peace treaty and hindered their diplomatic and trade relations.
During Putin's official visit to Japan last December, the leaders of the two countries announced the beginning of consultations of experts on joint economic activities in the Southern Kurils as an important step towards the conclusion of a peace treaty.