Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits Moscow on Thursday to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and pursue talks on joint economic projects aimed at a possible breakthrough in their decades-old island dispute.

Japanese officials said North Korea is also likely to be discussed given the timing of Abe's trip, though the leaders' approaches remain different.

Japan recently held talks with key allies the U.S., South Korea and Australia, agreeing that China and Russia are crucial in pressuring North Korea to end its nuclear and missile programs. While China is seen as more cooperative, U.S.-Russia ties have deteriorated over Syria.

Abe is to visit Britain next for talks with Prime Minister Theresa May. Defense cooperation, trade and Britain's exit from the European Union are among key issues to be discussed.