U.S. suggests boosting Russian-Japanese cooperation in Pacific region

Russian and Japan should improve the relationship in the Pacific region, Admiral Robert Willard, the Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command said on Tuesday.

Willard, who has recently had talks with Japanese Chief of Defense, General Ariki, said that Japan was concerned over Russian strategic flights in the northern islands’ region and Kremlin’s attempts to put Russian submarines to the area.

“It [Moscow’s military activities] is not just centered around Japan… Russian Pacific forces are endeavoring to re-invent themselves a bit since the very dramatic decline in Russian military capability,” Willard said, adding that Russia should continue to “grow the relationship” with the United States and Japan, emerging “as a constructive partner in the [Pacific] region.”

Russian-Japanese relations dramatically soured in November last year following a visit by President Dmitry Medvedev to one of the four South Kuril Islands.

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan called Medvedev’s trip “inexcusable rudeness,” sparking an angry reaction from the Kremlin.

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