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Japan recalls envoy over Russia row

[ 2010-11-03 13:18]     字号 [] [] []  
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Japan temporarily recalled its ambassador from Russia on Tuesday, but left the door open for a possible summit despite growing anger in Tokyo over President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to a disputed island off Japan's northern coast.

Medvedev's trip to the island on Monday - the first by a Russian leader - elicited angry protests from Tokyo.

Tokyo on Tuesday said it was temporarily bringing its ambassador to Moscow back to Japan to discuss the issue. It did not say how long he would remain.

Still, Japan's top government spokesman told reporters Prime Minister Naoto Kan intended to go ahead with arrangements for a meeting with Medvedev on the sidelines of a regional summit in Japan on Nov 13-14.

Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara said the move to bring back the ambassador was not intended to be antagonistic. He added that Japan's overall policy to strengthen economic ties with Russia has not changed, though he stressed that Medvedev's visit was highly regrettable.

"In the long term, we want to make progress in our relations," Maehara said. "But we must make our position clear."

The visit put Japan's government in a difficult position, particularly with conservatives, as Moscow appeared to be taking a hard line.

The dispute over the Russian-held islands has been a major sticking point behind the failure of the two countries to conclude a peace treaty formally ending their hostilities in World War II.

The disputed islands - known in Russia as the southern Kurils and in Japan as the Northern Territories - have rich fishing waters and are thought to have promising offshore oil and natural gas reserves, plus gold and silver deposits.

During his visit, Medvedev vowed to build infrastructure on the islands and raise their standard of living to one commensurate with the rest of Russia.

Medvedev, in announcing his plan to visit the area in September, described the islands as "a very important region in our country".


1. Why did the Japanese recall their ambassador?

2. How many times before had a Russian leader visited the islands?

3. What is the Russian name of the islands?


1. Russian President visited disputed islands.

2. 0.

3. The southern Kurils.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Japan recalls envoy over Russia row

Japan recalls envoy over Russia row

Todd Balazovic is a reporter for the Metro Section of China Daily. Born in Mineapolis Minnesota in the US, he graduated from Central Michigan University and has worked for the China Daily for one year.