Question: Could you please say a few words to the Japanese people who are extending you such a warm welcome. And also, how did you like the exhibition?
President Vladimir Putin: Let me begin by expressing my respect and my thanks to the Japanese people and the Japanese leadership for the invitation. This year we are holding many events to mark 150 years since official relations were established between our two countries, and next year we will celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the re-establishment of our diplomatic relations. Many events have taken place between us over these 150 years, but over almost all this time Russia and Japan have always had immense respect for each other and it is during the periods of our history when we have been guided precisely by this mutual respect that we have achieved the most in our cooperation.
I very much hope that we will be able to build on the relations that we have developed just over these last few years and that give us hope that if we build our ties on the basis of friendship, understanding and respect for each other, respect for our traditions and history, we will be able to settle all the issues we still consider unresolved. Finding solutions to these issues will provide us with the foundation for developing our relations yet further. We have every reason for counting on just such a positive climate in our relations because the objective circumstances are such that we are simply obliged to develop the ties between us. This is in the interests of both our countries and I very much hope that this is the direction we will take.
As for the exhibition, it was very impressive and I liked it very much. I hope that art-lovers here in Japan will get real pleasure from visiting this exhibition. The paintings are really amazing, very interesting and very beautiful. I would say to anyone who likes art, come and visit this exhibition.
But there is one other picture that also made a deep impression on me, and that is the view of Tokyo by night (from the Mori Tower observation gallery). It is simply fantastic.
Question: Mr President, could you sum up the results of the APEC summit in Busan?
Vladimir Putin: First, as you know, several issues were on the agenda at the APEC summit. Key among them was the question of developing free trade and economic relations. This is a very important issue for Russia, especially in the context of our negotiations on accession to the World Trade Organisation.
Second, all the leaders present for the summit reaffirmed their commitment to fighting terrorism together, which I also consider very important, and we realise just how important this is for our country. This reaffirms the spirit of cooperation in Asia, which is of considerable significance for Russia given our plans to develop the Far East and Siberia and given our partners’ interest in developing relations with the Russian Federation not only in the energy sector, although this sector is, of course, at the forefront, but also in high-technology sectors such as space and nuclear energy. Our cooperation in the energy sector is, however, certainly of prime interest at the moment. We understand our partners’ interest and will work on this area with all our colleagues, including here in Japan, where I am sure we will be focusing considerable attention on this sector.