Territorial dispute should not be made a cornerstone of Russian-Japanese relations

The problem of the Kuril Islands should not be a stumbling block in Russian-Japanese relations, Chairman of the State Duma International Affairs Committee Alexei Pushkov said on Thursday.

"We should be careful not to turn it into a stumbling bloc. It remains to be seen how things will evolve. Perhaps we will agree upon a formula for the joint development of these islands," he said at a press conference at Interfax's main office.

Commenting on mounting tension between China and Japan on the Senkaku (Diaoyu Dao) Islands, he said that it was unlikely to provoke tension between Russia and Japan. "These are different things," he added. "China is thereby asserting itself as a new superpower - I am not afraid of saying it - at least in Asia," which is something that "all will have to reckon with."

In Pushkov's opinion, China will behave fairly rationally. "The expression of emotions - yes. The siege of the embassy. All possible forms of securing emotional support for this policy will be used. But I strongly doubt that things will go as far as a major conflict overstepping the frames of purely political confrontation."

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