Abe and Putin meet, talk trade and peace treaty

Japanese business mission to visit Russia’s Kuril Islands – Putin & Abe

"This stance hasn't changed", he added. Tokyo quickly reiterated its preferred course: resolving Japan and Russia's long-standing territorial dispute before finalizing the post-World War II peace treaty.

Indeed, with the United Kingdom and South Korea in attendance, Japanese support could be crucial to a multilateral investment plan in Eastern Russian manufacturing and energy, for which President Putin is aiming.

"Let's sign the peace treaty - not now, but before the end of the year, without any preconditions", Putin said, addressing Abe who was also sitting at the same panel.

In the Japan-China summit scheduled on Wednesday, Abe and Xi are expected to talk about how to promote ties further as this year marks the 40th anniversary of a bilateral peace and friendship treaty.

Pancake making seems to be a way of bonding for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese premier Xi Jinping.

On Tuesday, Xi brought a delegation of nearly 1,000 Chinese business people and officials to the Eastern Economic Forum, a Putin-led effort to lure foreign investors.

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The drills kicked off close to Russia's border with China on Tuesday and will run through Saturday. The demonstration of military might will include some joint exercises with the Chinese army.

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Putin has moved to raise the retirement age for women from 55 years old up to 60 years old, and for men, up to 65 from 60. Russian men have a life expectancy of 66 while for women it is 77, the World Health Organization says.

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The Green Bay Packers accomplished something Sunday night that had never been done before in the long history of the franchise. But he was cleared to return at halftime and came back out for the Packers' first series of the third quarter.

Russian commentator Georgy Kunadze, a former deputy foreign minister, told Ekho Moskvy radio that he believes Putin was "trolling" Abe and "does not expect anything" to result from the proposal. "Putin does not expect anything", Kunadze told Echo of Moscow radio station.

"This appears to be just emotions and an attempt to put pressure rather than anything real", he said.

Abe said he and Putin approved a "road map" to realize the activities on the islets in five areas - aquaculture, greenhouse farming, tourism, wind power and waste reduction - which they agreed on past year. The two leaders have launched various economic projects on the islands in areas such as the farming of fish and shellfish, wind-generated energy, and tourism.

He told Putin Monday that Moscow and Tokyo "face a hard task" but that the two leaders share "mutual confidence" in pursuing the negotiations. The main obstacle for this is the sovereignty of the southern part of the Kuril Islands: after the end of the war the entire archipelago became part of the Soviet Union, but Tokyo is contesting Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and a group of islands which is called Habomai in Japan.

The four islands whose population stands at some 20,000 people are known in Russian as Iturup, Shikotan, Habomai and Kunashir.

Xi and Putin, among others, watched a video of the days when the Chinese boys and girls lived in the care center 10 years ago.

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