Europe

Putin hosts Japan's Abe in Moscow, discuss disputed islands

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, April 27, 2017. Abe visits Moscow on Thursday to meet with President Putin and pursue talks on joint economic projects aimed at a possible breakthrough in their decades-old island dispute. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, April 27, 2017. Abe visits Moscow on Thursday to meet with President Putin and pursue talks on joint economic projects aimed at a possible breakthrough in their decades-old island dispute. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, April 27, 2017. Abe visits Moscow on Thursday to meet with President Putin and pursue talks on joint economic projects aimed at a possible breakthrough in their decades-old island dispute. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, April 27, 2017. Abe visits Moscow on Thursday to meet with President Putin and pursue talks on joint economic projects aimed at a possible breakthrough in their decades-old island dispute. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, listens to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, April 27, 2017. Abe visits Moscow on Thursday to meet with President Putin and pursue talks on joint economic projects aimed at a possible breakthrough in their decades-old island dispute. (Sergei Karpukhin/Pool Photo via AP)

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, listens to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, April 27, 2017. Abe visits Moscow on Thursday to meet with President Putin and pursue talks on joint economic projects aimed at a possible breakthrough in their decades-old island dispute. (Sergei Karpukhin/Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Russian President Vladimir Putin is hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for talks in Moscow.

This is the two leaders' third meeting in the past seven months after Putin went on a state visit to Japan in December and Abe met Putin in Russia's Far East in September.

Japan and Russia both claim four islands north of Japan's northern main island of Hokkaido which came under Russian control at the end of World War II. The frequent meetings are widely regarded as a sign that both Moscow and Tokyo are eager to settle the dispute and sign a peace treaty that the Soviet Union and Japan never managed to negotiate.

The two countries are also discussing joint development of fisheries, tourism and other areas that might help bridge the gap.