Japan's Abe seeks economic talks with Russia in December

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LIMA (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday that he would like to hold talks with Putin on Dec. 16 in Tokyo to discuss bilateral economic matters, on top of a planned summit in western Japan slated for Dec. 15.

Abe in September agreed with Putin to deepen economic ties and work to make headway on negotiations for the conclusion of a peace treaty ahead of the Dec. 15 meeting, sending officials from both sides scrambling to identify promising business projects.

A Russo-Japanese territorial row over a chain of western Pacific islands, seized by Soviet troops at the end of World War Two, has upset diplomatic relations ever since, precluding a formal peace treaty between the two countries.

Abe told Putin that he would like to discuss a peace treaty and bilateral economic cooperation on Dec. 15.

Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Bill Rigby