Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin attend a meeting on the sidelines of the ASEAN-Russia Summit in Singapore, November 14, 2018.
MOSCOW, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Russia and Japan are far from being partners in international affairs as rifts remain between them, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday.
"We are even far from understanding the need to look for constructive approaches that bring positions closer without condemning the other participant in communication," Lavrov said at his annual press conference.
Moscow and Tokyo still have a lot to do to become true partners rather than "countries on the opposite sides of a barricade" in the international arena, he said.
Lavrov said Japan had supported a number of sanctions against Russia as well as the anti-Russian statements of the Group of Seven, and that it had also voted against Russia on some United Nations (UN) resolutions.
Concerning the four disputed Pacific islands controlled by Russia, Lavrov said the transfer of them to Japan contradicts the UN Charter, which fixes the results of World War II.
Russia and Japan have not signed a post-World War II peace treaty due to their rival claims over the islands which are known as the Southern Kurils in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan.
The Soviet army took the four islands in the final days of World War II. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the four islands were incorporated into Russia.
According to a joint declaration signed in 1956, the then Soviet Union agreed to return two of the islands provided a bilateral peace treaty is signed, while Japan refused to sign such an agreement, insisting on the return of all four islands.
On Monday, Lavrov and his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono failed to reach a consensus on the disputed islands at talks in Moscow.