Russia and Japan have finally agreed to lay their wartime animosity to rest, with bilateral peace talks almost half a century after World War II.

In the first top-level summit between the two countries, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed Monday to resume talks on a peace treaty that was stalled in 2003.

“The heads of the two nations have expressed their resolution to overcome the existing differences in the parties’ positions and to sign the peace treaty,” according to a joint statement after the meeting.

The joint statement also as describes as “abnormal” the situation in which the two neighboring countries cannot sign a peace treaty 67 years after the conclusion of World War II.

Putin, however, said that the resumption of talks would not solve the problems all at once and insisted that development of economic ties would be essential to any diplomatic dialogue, reports RT.

“It was not us who created this problem. We inherited it from the past. And we sincerely want to solve it in conditions that are mutually acceptable for both sides,” he said.

Other than the dispute over the rightful ownership of Kuril Islands – known as Northern Territories in Japan – which remains a thorn in diplomatic relations, the two countries have coexisted peacefully while investment and trade is constantly developing.