Vladimir Putin and Shinzo Abe have called on North Korea and other countries to avoid antagonising tensions around Pyongyang’s nuclear programme.
The Japanese prime minister and Russia’s president met in Moscow and said they had agreed to cooperate closely to try to help defuse the situation.
Putin said both leaders considered that things had taken a turn for the worse on the Korean peninsula.
“We call on all governments involved to refrain from using belligerent rhetoric and to strive for peaceful constructive dialogue,” he said, adding that he wanted six-party international talks on North Korea to resume.
The Russian leader said progress had been made on disputed islands in the Western Pacific, which Japan calls the “Northern Territories” but Russia knows as the “Southern Kuriles”.
Putin and Abe have met several times in recent months as the two countries have been considering joint economic development in the volcanic territories, which were annexed by the former Soviet Union at the end of World War II – preventing both nations from signing a peace treaty to this day.