Russia calls U.S.-Japan alliance impediment to peace treaty talks

Russia has stiffened its stance against advancing talks with Japan on a peace treaty, calling Tokyo's security alliance with the United States a threat and impediment to improving bilateral ties, diplomatic sources said Saturday. The position apparently reflects Russia's deteriorating relations with the United States over Washington's decision to withdraw from a Cold War-era nuclear arms control treaty. It is a setback for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is seeking to resolve a decades-old territorial dispute with Moscow over four islands off Hokkaido in northern Japan and sign a broad agreement on a postwar peace treaty in June when Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to visit Japan for the Group of 20 summit.

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