Publication: Fortnight in Review Volume: 6 Issue: 18

In the foreign policy sphere, meanwhile, relations with Asia were highlighted as Moscow played host to a lengthy visit by one of China’s most powerful political figures and the Russian president traveled to Tokyo for a long-awaited summit meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori. If the first event proved to be an uncharacteristically subdued affair, however, the second offered considerably more controversy. At the Russian-Japanese summit Putin and Mori barely managed to paper over a long-standing diplomatic struggle involving control of the disputed south Kuril Islands. The difficult summit meeting, moreover, was followed by the eruption of a spy row that at least momentarily torpedoed military contacts between the two countries and that threatened also to harm broader bilateral relations.