Russian President Vladimir Putin has emphasised on the need of close bilateral ties between Russia and Japan.
"Much work needs to be done to take Russia-Japan relations to the next level," Xinhua quoted Putin as saying during a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the conclusion of the Group of 20 (G20) summit here on Saturday.
"But this will set the stage to resolve the most difficult issues we are facing in a mutually acceptable manner," said the Russian President.
Putin and Abe, on the long-standing territorial dispute, said both governments would continue the negotiations in line with a joint declaration signed in 1956, and in the meantime forge ahead with joint economic activities on the disputed islands.
"It will not be easy to reconcile our differences, but it is becoming clearer what the issues we need to overcome are," Shinzo Abe said.
The meeting of Abe and Putin took place after leaders of G20 members wrapped up the two-day summit in Osaka where the duo also held expanded talks over dinner.
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