Japan, Russia agree to cooperate on security as China rises

TOKYO Sat Nov 2, 2013 3:45am EDT

1 of 2. Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (2nd L) and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (L) shakes hands with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the start of their meeting at the prime minister's residence in Tokyo November 2, 2013. Lavrov and Shoigu are in Japan to attend the Japan-Russia foreign and defence ministers meeting called ''two-plus-two''.

Credit: Reuters/Yoshikazu Tsuno/Pool

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan and Russia held their first joint defense and foreign ministers' meeting on Saturday and agreed to boost security cooperation in the Asia-Pacific as they both warily watch neighboring China's rising influence.

Japan and Russia have never signed a treaty to mark the end of World War Two because of a territorial dispute but they are moving to deepen ties despite that, and despite Russian concern about Japan's role in a U.S. missile defense program.

The foreign ministers of both countries said the meeting helped build trust.

"To boost cooperation in the field of security, and not just in the field of economic and people exchanges, means that we are improving overall Japan-Russia ties," Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told a news conference.

"This would also have a positive impact on the negotiations to sign a peace treaty."

Japan and Russia both claim remote, windswept islets called the Northern Territories in Japan and the Southern Kuriles in Russia.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who have met four times in the last six months, agreed in April to revive talks on resolving the dispute and a vice ministerial-level meeting will be held next year.

On Saturday, the two sides agreed to hold naval exercises to combat terrorism and piracy and to deepen their cooperation in regional security and diplomatic forums.

Russia invited the Japanese ministers to Moscow in 2014 for more talks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

Neither side referred explicitly to worries about China's rising power and Kishida said security cooperation between Japan and Russia was not being undertaken with any other country in mind.

The path to a good relations between Japan and Russia may not be entirely smooth.

Russia expressed concern over Japan's moves to strengthen its defense alliance with the United States including a plan to locate a U.S. missile-defense radar system in Japan.

"We openly communicated that we are concerned about Japan's participation in the United States' global missile defense system," Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said.

Relations between Russia and the United States have been strained by disputes over Iran, Syria, and Russia's decision to give temporary asylum to U.S. fugitive spy contractor Edward Snowden.

(Reporting by Yoko Kubota; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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Comments (14)
JonnyBrou wrote:
Is it just me or is Russia getting mad about missile defense RADAR (I would assume it has no direct offensive capabilities) is like someone getting mad when you put your hands up to block their cocked fist.

Nov 02, 2013 12:25pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
RonHG wrote:
See Russia’s learned how to play America’s game, he-hee.

Nov 02, 2013 1:55pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
wahchinkz wrote:
Just a few days ago:
Putin meets Chinese military official on ties
When pragmatic cooperation in the fields of economy and trade, energy and people-to-people exchanges, among others, have seen progress, military ties between the two partners have also been on the fast lane, said Putin.
The armed forces of the two countries hold joint drills regularly, and the cooperation between the two militaries in various areas are also fruitful, said Putin, who believed military cooperation plays a pivotal role in the strategic partnership between Russia and China and hoped defense departments of the two countries could better arrange their exchanges and cooperation in a bid to further bilateral military ties in the future.
- Xinhua
Western Media is so funny sometimes

Nov 02, 2013 3:29pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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