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    People walk by a TV news showing a map of North Korea with the location of the city of Sinpo while reporting North Korea's rocket launch, in Tokyo, Sunday, April 16, 2017

    The Pitfalls of Russo-Japanese Joint Approach to North Korean Issue

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    As both Russia and Japan seek to prevent a further escalation on the Korean peninsula, it appears that Moscow and Tokyo may not exactly see eye to eye on exactly what methods should be employed to achieve this goal.

    Following a meeting in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have called on Washington and Pyongyang to refrain from actions that could further escalate the already tense situation on the Korean Peninsula.

    The comments came as tensions between the US and North Korea have increased in past weeks with both nations conducting military drills in a display of martial might.

    Speaking at a joint press conference, Putin said both Russia and Japan support a resumption of the so-called six-party international talks held with North Korea, which broke down in 2009. In his turn, Prime Minister Abe said he and Putin have agreed to work together in an attempt to defuse the volatile situation in the Korean Peninsula.

    Dr James Brown, Associate Professor of political science at Temple University Japan and expert on Russo-Japanese relations, told Sputnik Radio that while Tokyo and Moscow are definitely concerned about the situation in Korea, their cooperation “can only go so far.”

    "There are certain things that they can agree on: they’re both very worried about these developments, they want a restart to the six-party talks, and both sides will be urging North Korea to uphold the UN Security Council resolution. However, that cooperation can only go so far because there’s a difference in approach. As the Japanese side strongly supports the tough line being taken by the United States, the Russian side believes that can actually be quite unhelpful and favor a less aggressive stance towards the North Korean regime," Brown said.

    He also remarked that Japan is unlikely to support Russia’s attempts to persuade the US to soften its stance on the North Korean issue, due to Tokyo’s alliance with Washington.

    "Japan, as it is well known, is a very strong ally of the United States, and I expect that Japan will be really quite supportive of any tough line that the US wants to take. So there'll only be, I think, Russia and China who will be more in favor of supporting a softer line towards Pyongyang," Brown explained.

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    Tags:
    differences, cooperation, negotiations, Shinzo Abe, Vladimir Putin, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), Japan, Russia
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