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08/13/91

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U.S., Soviet experts propose bilateral moves in Northeast Asia

STANFORD -- International security experts from Stanford University and the Soviet Union met in Vladivostok, U.S.S.R., last month and agreed that the two major powers should work closely to resolve post-Cold War conflicts in Northeast Asia.

Prof. John W. Lewis of Stanford's Center for International Security and Arms Control (CISAC) and several colleagues worked with their counterparts from Moscow's Institute of Far Eastern Studies as part of an ongoing program to encourage further stability in Korea, China and other Northeast Asian nations.

Lewis said their statement probably would help reduce tensions on the Korean peninsula.

"Past statements have been put on the agenda of every single government in the region," the outgoing co-director of the center said.

The participants "agreed in principle on the need to encourage positive trends currently under way throughout the region, and held that the ending of the Cold War should enable greater progress to be made toward the resolution of existing conflicts," read the statement signed by Lewis and Mikhail Titarenko, director of the Soviet institute.

Those involved, the statement continued, "supported the idea that the success of reforms in the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China would be consistent with the interests of all the states of the region."

The United States and the Soviet Union, the experts said, could provide a timely impetus to the search for regional peace and security in the Asian-Pacific region, while promoting their own increasingly more amicable relations, by agreeing to undertake several bilateral measures:

  • A commitment to review regularly, on a military-to-military basis, U.S. and Soviet doctrines, strategies and general programs of military exercises.
  • An agreement to exchange data regularly on military forces, including air, ground and naval deployments in the region.
  • A commitment to explore ways to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons in the region, including possible agreements to cease deploying and eventually to eliminate nuclear weapons on surface ships.
  • A commitment not to use or to threaten the use of nuclear weapons against countries party to and in compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
  • The holding of annual meetings between the commanders-in- chief of the U.S. and Soviet Pacific forces to review topics of mutual interest.

The participants also proposed several measures to be undertaken, if possible, on a multilateral basis with the People's Republic of China, Japan, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea.

"The aim should be to create a cooperative security regime among the nations of Northeast Asia, which would temper balance- of-power considerations with a search for a balance among the legitimate security interests of those nations," the statement read. "If it proves possible to concert policies successfully on some difficult security issues, a stable structure of relations among China, Japan, the Soviet Union and the United States might not be beyond reach."

Lewis, who will be succeeded as co-director by Prof. David Holloway this fall, will continue research into issues concerning Northeast Asia.

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