Japan calls for Russia to open Crimea talks with Ukraine

TOKYO —

Japanese foreign minister Fumio Kishida has urged Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to start talks with Ukraine on resolving the Crimean crisis, warning that a looming breakaway vote is unacceptable, his ministry said Wednesday.

In an hour-long telephone conversation with Lavrov late Tuesday, Kishida “encouraged Russia to hold a direct dialogue with the Ukrainian interim government without harming Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the ministry said in a statement.

Japan’s top diplomat also expressed concerns over a potentially explosive breakaway vote in Crimea that could see it join the Russian federation, it said, as tensions rise in eastern Ukraine.

Japan “cannot accept changes to the status quo through force and strongly demands that the issue be settled peacefully,” it said.

In response, Lavrov “explained Russia’s position and expressed a negative reaction to direct dialogue as it does not see legitimacy in the Ukrainian interim government,” the statement said.

The comments came as concerns rise over a Russian annexation of the strategic peninsula after the Crimean parliament voted for independence ahead of a Sunday referendum on joining Russia.

Russia’s leaders are refusing all dialogue with their Ukrainian counterparts following the ouster of the country’s pro-Moscow leader, Ukraine’s acting president Oleksandr Turchynov told AFP in an exclusive interview Tuesday.

Also Tuesday, Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry failed again to bridge differences on resolving the simmering crisis.

Criticism of Moscow is a tough balancing act for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as he moves to resolve a decades-long territorial dispute with Russia and build economic ties.

But last week, Abe assured U.S. President Barack Obama that Tokyo would back Washington’s efforts to address the Ukraine crisis as it lined up sanctions on Russia.

(c) 2014 AFP

  • 0

    tyvtgo1US

    Russia and China. hmmmm.....Do either one of these countries have any dignity and respect for others??? It seems both have zero!

  • 0

    dcog9065

    Agreed. China constantly gives the world headaches about not to interfere with other countries' domestic issues, unless of course it's their ally.

  • -5

    toshiko

    Hidden agenda of Japan..... If Russia makes Ukraine as the Russna territory because so many Russian live, Give Kurils back to Japan or Japan will not cooperate to help Russian economic growth. China, Japan is ready to order Japanese corporations out from your country and order Mitsubishi not to help oil pipeline manufacturing in the continent China from middle east to Russia.

  • 1

    Cricky

    Japan, thank the gods Russian focuses is else where. I am sure Mr Putin takes the advice of the Japanese Government very seriously. As the rest of the world does.

  • 4

    HowardStern

    @toshiko, you have an over-inflated opinion of Japan's influence in the world economic order. Russia hardly "needs" Japan's cooperation to achieve growth. Get real.

    http://atlas.media.mit.edu/profile/country/rus/

  • -3

    KeKeMan

    Crimia for Ukraine, Kuril islands for Japan??

  • 1

    titiano

    There is a good article by D. C. Hendrickson "The West's Illusions About Ukraine" in the US-based "The National Interest" (published by the Center for the National Interest), which tries to explain why the West (including Japan) and Russia are having difficulties understanding each other over Ukraine:

    http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/getting-ukraine-wrong-10030

  • -3

    EthanWilber

    Japan deserves credits to make an earnest effort to urge Russia’s to consider peaceful solution for resolving the crisis in Ukraine.

    It’s true that at this stage, it is almost a reality that Russia will take Crimea under its wing. However, by making Japan’s stance clear to the Russians, Japan is taking its gloves off and making itself ready to join the US led coalition for the next step against Russian blatant annexation of Crimea.

    I think that next Monday will be an interesting day after Crimea’s referendum. My assessment is that the western coalition will impose some sort of stage-one sanctions on Russia to make its voice to be heard. For Japan, it may take a bit longer time to participate in sanction implementation. It’s understandable because in the past Japan raised lots of stakes as to the relationship between Japan and Russia. It would a big open question: how much and how long Japan is able to hold on its Russian investments from here forward.

  • -2

    toshiko

    @Ethan: following is the report after 3/12 this year talks. My optimistic comment is based on this report.

    During the one-day meeting, the two sides agreed to carry out joint drills between Japan's Maritime Self-Defence Force and the Russian Navy designed to combat terrorists and pirates, the ministers said.

    They also agreed to launch "Japan-Russia cyber-security talks" while stepping up other security and defence talks, including ministerial meetings, their joint statement said.

    "We got off to a good start by turning to a new chapter of the Japanese and Russian relationship," Kishida told a joint news conference.

    "Pushing for cooperation in the security sector will help enhance the entire relationship between Japan and Russia, which will have a good impact on negotiations on signing a peace treaty," he said.

    Despite an important commercial relationship that is now much influenced by Japan's need to buy fossil fuels and Russia's desire to sell them, the two neighbours have failed to sign a peace treaty due to their territorial dispute.

    The islands, which Japan calls the Northern Territories, but Russia administers as the Southern Kurils, were seized by Soviet troops as World War II thundered to a close.

    Lavrov said Saturday's meeting also covered regional concerns, including the Korean peninsula issue, territorial disputes, drug trafficking and borderless crimes.

    "We confirmed that our close cooperation in settling these issues will meet the interest of the two countries," the Russian foreign minister said.

    But Kishida stressed that their bilateral dialogue did not intend to single out one particular issue or a country, adding the Japan-US security alliance is still the cornerstone of Tokyo's diplomacy.

    Four separate meetings have taken place between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin over the past six months, an unusual frequency for such high-level exchanges.

    The affable tone stands in marked contrast to the the state of relations between Japan and China.

    Asia's two largest economies are at diplomatic loggerheads over the sovereignty of a chain of islands in the East China Sea. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Abe have not met for a formal sit-down since either came to power.

  • 1

    EthanWilber

    toshiko, your assessments are surely more rosy and more diplomatic than mine in terms of Japan-Russia relationship. This is fine.

    Nevertheless, I’d like to suggest you to look into the Japan’s options at the hands in a longer time of frame. You may find the fissures that is taking shape between Japan and Russia may impact Russia as well as Japan, making Japan’s unilateral wishes to be less likely to be realized. Those so called “close cooperation” between two countries could be soon in the rear view mirror as Japan joins US led coalition against Russian aggression in Ukraine.

    But, your optimistic views still have values, why not.:)

  • -1

    maryartemis

    It's about time someone said something intelligent. Russia is pushing it big time and on the border of losing their reputation with the world. Krimea belongs to Ukraine.

  • -1

    toshiko

    I hope Mitsubishi get out from China and create the pipeline from Iran to Japan instead of middle east via China to /Russia to Japan. Maybe Japan might study California Solar Energy plants progress instead of importing oil? After all solar enegby panels are made by Japan inc in USA. Sunshine is free. Russia never won any war against Japan and could not promote communism in Japan after WW II. On the contrary, Japan won industrial war in USA. What industry USA can claim USA industry? Only heavy weapon industry.

  • 0

    Pukey2

    I read the article over and over again, and I can't find one single mention of China. And yet, the first three posters have to bring up China. tyvtgo1US, now I undertsand your tactic. If nobody mentions China, then you bring it up yourself, thus giving yourself another chance to rant and complain, and generally make yourself feel better.

    Here's some news for you. You can't blame China for every single damn problem on this planet. This Crimean problem starts and ends with Russia. Find another problem.

  • 1

    cracaphat

    Abe will "back" but not at the cost of Japanese diplomacy over the Kuril isles,hence the no sanctions move. Though Japanese so called backing nowadays is hardly worth the voice it's spoken through.

  • 3

    HB714

    @toshiko- u have quite the imagination.. How do u suppose Japan build a pipeline from the Middle East to Japan while skipping over the entire Asian continent ?? As for US industry your kidding right?? It would seem to me Japan Inc. is the one in trouble .. Please tell me what industry Japan controls these days? Mobile- Apple& Samsung , automotive- number 1 selling car in the States these days- Hyundai and domestic brands are picking up steam as well and how about electrical appliances - Lg and domestic brands sell best probably found in 3 out of 4 US households .. Being that the features are the same and the price is much cheaper!!As for the weapons industry big business wouldn't u say? Being that the topic at hand is about Russia and the Ukranian crisis.. I mean isn't Abe trying to open up Japan's defense industry so Japan can try to get a piece of that pie?! As for the Kuril Islands it will be a cold day in hell before Russia returns those islands back to Japan.. Fact of the matter is Japan needs Russia, China and the US more than they need Japan!! Hate to burst your bubble..

  • -4

    toshiko

    @hb714: That is not my imagination. It is Russian proposal. Kishida will go to Russia very soon to discuss matters.

    Japan Inc in USA: What are the names of autos in USA? How about TVs? How about PC makers? how about Solar Energy panel makers? Apples is too busy with its lawsuit against Sam Sung. Do you know it is not time Apple and Apple 2 era. Isn't Detroit bankrupted? Go to Walmart or Cosco. A whole bunch of made in China cheap things. Mattel lost sales power. Have you visited electronic product sales stores lime Fry in USA? Bridgestone and Yokohama Tires destroyed GoodYear. Ford and GM had to create factories in China to survive. Write the name of industry USA dominate more than Japan Inc.

    Russians proposing a lot of industrial plan for Japanese help. one of them is pipeline. have you checked Mitsubishi cooperating with China? BTW, Toyota is the top sales in USA, and elsewhere in the world. Mitsui helped Toyoda when Mr. Toda was making cars when GM and Ford cars were dominated in Jappan. Mitsui helped Toyoda car sales in Japan and made it to be an independent company after Honda suceeded. Now the name is Toyota, dominating USA roads.

    Hyunsdai is not a top sales in USA and it is a Korean company, not USA company.. What is the name of USA PC makers? HP decided to close that business. For consumer electronic machine maker Westing House was acquired by Toshiba many years ago.

  • 1

    HB714

    @toshiko- I'm aware of the proposal , my point being given the current conflict in the Ukraine not to mention the political turmoil between China and Japan the whole idea currently seems like a pipe dream at best.. Given Japan's political responsibilities and it's alliance with America and other western nations on the matter at hand , hard to imagine Japan's newfound Russian negotiations not having any kind of fallout..

    As for American Inc I could name quite a few of the top of my head H/P, Dell , Apple not to mention every friend I know just about including myself uses a Mac , Chrysler , GM , Maytag , Whirlpool,

  • -4

    toshiko

    I was writing about USA industry. What my children have or your friend have do not represent US Industry.

    Russia also suggest to sell their natural resource which are very poor in Japan. Underground resource.

    HP already said that it was getting out from PC market. Dell? Terabytes flush drive and memoryboards, they just gave up. Where it disappeared? Apple do not have Steve Job anymore. GM and Chrysler cars in USA? Go out to see what kind cars are all over in USA streets. Maytag and Whirlpool? Awfully out of dated. Maybe in goddwill or second and stores you can get.

  • 3

    HB714

    @toshiko- Sorry didn't complete my previous post accidentally hit the submit button .. Anyways, the list goes on and on.. How bout oil and gas the US is a major player in that industry, agriculture, aviation etc etc.. Yes, I'm very aware of the fact that Hyundai is a South Korean company nowhere in my post did I say it was American.. My bad its no longer the best selling car in the states..The current best selling model in the states is a Ford I forget what model but a large pick- up.. The best selling television is A Samsung and the best selling computer is still H/P.. But getting to the point , I don't deny Japan Inc has been a major player or that they produce many quality products.. I'm simply saying that Japan's dominance in the market has long passed and its not likely to change going forward.. But if u want to believe that Japan Inc is some kind of superpower go right ahead..Fact is that's just not the case anymore..

  • -1

    toshiko

    Hyundau never was best auto sales in USA. Honda dominated first. that was many years before Hyundai existed in Korea/ Toyota Nissan joined. Ford had been struggling because it was bossed by UAW and UAW used to oppose modernization, Check Auto magazines report. JT Business Board reported how many Toyotas are sold last week. Ford and GM were not on top. Get numbers. Ford and GM had US Govt aide to survive. Meanwhile Detroit had been bankrupted. Because Japan Inc began working in Asia, Obama copied Japan to exploit Asia but these Asian countries, including India, shunned Obama. They prefer Japan Inc because Japan Inc train employees technology. Technological Industry, I am talking as Japan Inc is technological corporations.

  • -1

    The_True

    Toshiko, keep dreaming!

    Japan tech having giving by Americans after the war, the day of flooring the US market is over, now is China and Korea time, look at every Toyota crown in Japan, is like a copy of the 3 German car company, Audi, BMW and Mercedes.

    Computer?

    Nothing inside a computer is make in Japan, NOTHING!

    CPU: Intel or AMD HDD: Western Digital, Seagate, there are some HDD make by Toshiba and Hitachi only use For OEM because they are cheap, and Hitachi HDD used be IBM. Video Card: Nvidia and AMD. Memory: Samsung, Micron, remember Expedia it used to be a Japanese company and Micron buy the company after they fail to keep up agains samsung and Micron.

    You really need to get out of Japan and see how many brand are out there in the world.

    The only reason Japanese company are surviving is because of selling overprice product here in Japan, why don't Japan open the door to foreign company? We'll know the answer to that.

  • -1

    Strangerland

    You really need to get out of Japan and see how many brand are out there in the world.

    Toshiko doesn't live in Japan.

  • 0

    25psot

    Pressing Russians is not always productive and it may come back like a boomerang but its good than Japan is united with world community for common good and peace on Earth.

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