Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia on September 5. When Abe gave a speech, he mentioned the relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and described the relationship between the two as “eat salt.”

Abe said that this is the 27th meeting with Putin. The two had had a very good meal together. They were friends who ate “eaten a pood of salt together” (Put is the weight unit of Russia) . What Abe said is actually a reference to Russian proverbs. In Russian culture, salt is a long-lasting friendship.

Abe mentioned the poem of Russian poet Fyodor Tyutchev, “I can’t understand Russia with reason,” in which the poet wrote: “You can only choose to believe in Russia.” Abe said that there is only one way to communicate with Japan and believe in Japan.

Abe and Putin held talks on issues such as peace talks and territorial disputes. Putin said that the military ties between Japan and the United States make it difficult for Russia and Japan to sign a peace treaty.

After Japan surrendered in World War II, the former Soviet Union seized control of the South Kuril Islands. The sovereignty dispute between the two countries has not been resolved for many years, and no peace treaty has been formally signed. In 2018, Abe and Putin agreed to accelerate the peace talks in accordance with the 1956 Joint Declaration, but the work-level negotiations failed to narrow the differences between the two countries. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited the South Kuril Islands on August 2 and provoked Japanese protests.

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