September 12, 2018 / 8:11 AM / 7 months ago

Russia's Putin says his Japan peace treaty proposal was no joke

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attend a meeting on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia September 10, 2018. Mikhail Metzel/TASS Host Photo Agency/Pool via REUTERS

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that he was not joking when he proposed that he and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sign a peace treaty by the end of the year.

Russia and Japan are in dispute over a chain of Pacific islands and as a result have still not formally ended their World War Two hostilities.

Sitting alongside Abe at an economic forum in the Russian Far East, Putin proposed concluding an unconditional peace treaty by the end of the year. Abe did not give a response.

Reporting by Denis Pinchuk, Vladimir Soldatkin, Polina Nikolskaya; Writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Andrew Osborn

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