Telephone Talks Between Prime Minister Koizumi and Russian President Putin

September 2003

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi held telephone talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on September 1. The following is an overview of the talks, set on the initiative of the Japanese side.

1. Japan-Russia Relations

(1) At the start of the conversation, Prime Minister Koizumi expressed his condolences to the victims of the accident on August 30 when a Russian nuclear-powered submarine sank in the Barents Sea. In return, President Putin expressed his gratitude.

(2) Prime Minister Koizumi went on to express his gratitude for the welcome that he received on the occasion of events dedicated to the 300th anniversary of the foundation of St. Petersburg in May and then explained that today he wanted to talk about military exercises in the Russian Far East, the Pacific pipeline, and the situation on the Korean Peninsula. He noted that these were all important areas of cooperation under "the Japan-Russia Action Plan" and that he wanted to continue developing bilateral relations in a wide range of fields, including peace treaty negotiations, through the steady implementation of "the Japan-Russia Action Plan".

(3) In response, President Putin expressed appreciation for Prime Minister Koizumi's initiative in realizing the telephone talks and stated that holding telephone talks like this was a manifestation of the fact that actual and practical cooperation between Japan and Russia is strengthening and that there is an increasing need to coordinate positions in various fields.

2. Military Exercises in the Russian Far East

(1) Prime Minister Koizumi said that the successful implementation of the joint exercises in Nakhodka Bay on August 25 was a matter for mutual rejoicing and that the participation of the Self-Defense Forces this time was a significant outcome for the development of defense exchange between Japan and Russia and cooperation on the international stage.

(2) In response, President Putin said that he shared Prime Minister Koizumi's evaluation and that the participation of the Maritime Self-Defense Force this time showed the high level of cooperation between Japan and Russia in this field and the direction of further development.

3. Pacific Pipeline

(1) Prime Minister Koizumi said that Japan had dispatched experts on this project and that specific consultations were underway in the three fields of the joint exploration and development of East Siberian oil fields by Japan and Russia, the feasibility atudy of the pipeline, and finance scheme of the pipeline construction. Since the Pacific pipeline was an important field for both Japan and Russia, he said, he looked forward to President Putin's continued strong leadership toward progress on this issue.

(2) In response, President Putin said that the Pacific pipeline was extremely important, that he had heard that Japan was seriously studying the issue of the exploration and development in East Siberia, and that he would like to further promote consultations. President Putin said that both sides could be able to summarize the various results in the trade and economic area on the occasion of the visit to Japan by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, scheduled to take place by the end of this year.

4. North Korea

(1) Regarding issues related to North Korea, Prime Minister Koizumi said that at the six-party talks held in Beijing on August 27 - 29, the participating countries had gained a shared recognition of the need to, among other things, denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and achieve a peaceful solution of the problem. He stated that Japan intended to continue its efforts toward a peaceful and diplomatic solution of North Korea's nuclear problem. In response, President Putin said that he thought it was good that cooperation between Japan and Russia had gone well in Beijing, that the objectives of Japan and Russia of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and ensuring the security of the region coincided, and that the process of six-party talks should be continued.

(2) Prime Minister Koizumi explained for the more the contact between Japan and North Korea at the six-party talks and once again asked for Russia's understanding and cooperation for the solution of the abduction issue in particular. In response, President Putin stated that he highly respected the stance taken by the Japanese delegation on the abduction issue.

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