Moscow: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Friday said Japan should realise Moscow would not give up
disputed Pacific islands, proposing instead to consider
creating a free economic zone there.
"All the South Kuril Islands are Russia`s territory,"
Medvedev said in a live end-of-the-year television interview.
"That`s our land, we should take all appropriate
decisions there, we should rebuild the Kurils, do everything
that people live like humans there. I personally promised them
Medvedev caused an uproar in November when he became
the first Russian leader to visit one of the disputed islands
known as Kunashir in Russian and Kunashiri in Japanese.
The visit caused the worst diplomatic crisis in
bilateral ties in years and became the subject of talks with
Kan last month in Japan.
The row has prevented Russia and Japan from signing a
peace treaty to formally end World War II hostilities,
impeding the development of ties -- and the islands -- to
their full potential.
Home to some 19,000 people, the islands are rich in
gold and silver and lie in waters abundant in marine life.
The islands` infrastructure however is crumbling or
nearly non-existent and most Russian residents eke out a
meager living there.
Medvedev said that Russia and Japan could consider
pursuing joint economic projects at the disputed islands, in
his most detailed comments yet on his vision for the remote