By the Associated Press
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is heading to Russia for talks with President Vladimir Putin, in hopes of making progress on joint economic projects on disputed islands as a step toward resolving the decades-old territorial row.
Abe said Thursday he hoped to talk heart-to-heart with Putin to achieve progress on the island issue and eventually sign a peace treaty. Abe also plans to reaffirm Russia’s cooperation in efforts to rid North Korea of nuclear weapons.
Abe has been pushing for a way forward in the dispute over the Russian-held islands that Japan also claims. The row has kept the two countries from signing a peace treaty formally ending their WWII hostilities.
And he’s also bringing a gift — a Japanese “Akita” puppy for Pyeongchang Olympic figure skating champion Alina Zagitova.