Section 2. ENHANCING OUR REGIONAL RELATIONSHIPS
2.8 Expanding Regional Cooperation with Russia
Although Russia is traditionally considered a European power, geographically,
historically and culturally, Russia is also an Asia-Pacific nation.
In the past, the Soviet Unionís contributions to Asia-Pacific security
was deemed either negative or negligible. Today, America welcomes the Russian
Federationís active and constructive role in Asia-Pacific security as important
to regional stability. Military exercises and cooperation, port visits,
and both senior-level and staff-level exchanges with the regionís armed
forces have enhanced transparency and trust, and reduced suspicions left
over from the Cold War. Russian engagement in such regional fora as the
ARF may enhance habits of security cooperation.
In November 1998, Russia will become a member of the Asia Pacific Economic
Cooperation (APEC) forum, which will enhance Russiaís engagement with its
Asia-Pacific neighbors and increase its participation in a variety of multilateral
economic discussions. The development of Russiaís economy, including the
Far East region with its abundant natural resources, can contribute substantially
to regional economic growth and buttress regional peace. At the same time,
Asian capital and know-how can fuel Russiaís prosperity and contribute
to its historic transition from an authoritarian communist regime to a
liberal, market democracy.
Increasing Russian engagement may help relieve historical tensions and
resolve several longstanding disputes that have plagued the region. For
example, Russia and Japan are working toward the conclusion of a peace
treaty to fully normalize the relationship between the two countries. Toward
that end, they have begun to identify new paths toward settling their dispute
over the Northern Territories, which has delayed completion of the treaty
for half a century. Their pledge at the Krasnoyarsk summit of November
1997, to do their utmost to conclude a treaty by the year 2000 benefits
the United States and all who value regional security.
Likewise, Russia has enhanced its relations with South Korea, while
its relationship with China has improved markedly. The 4000-mile shared
border between Russia and China has historically been a military flashpoint.
As a result of joint initiatives, today the border disputes have largely
been resolved, military equipment has been drawn back, cross-border trade
has increased and relationships focus more on development of resources
than marshalling of forces. The United States welcomes these improved relations.
Interaction between the U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM) and Russian military
forces has expanded rapidly in recent years from a few high-level exchange
visits to substantive, routine and cooperative working-level meetings.
USPACOM has also established a range of conferences, symposia and other
fora on such issues as special operations, military medicine, search and
rescue, criminal investigation and peacekeeping operations, to further
strengthen our bilateral relationship in the region. These activities will
continue to expand.
As an Asia-Pacific power with a substantial presence and relevance to
the security of the region, Russiaís open and constructive participation
in regional security affairs will remain in the U.S. national interest.
Section 6. SUSTAINING U.S. ENGAGEMENT: U.S. STRATEGIC VISION FOR
6.3 Continued Integration of Russia into Asia-Pacific Security Affairs
Russiaís involvement in Asia-Pacific affairs will expand in coming years
as historical tensions ease, and bilateral and multilateral interaction
is regularized. The United States welcomes and will continue to encourage
such involvement as constructive to the general development of the region.
Economically, further integration of Russia into regional security affairs
will promote growth both by enhancing general stability and by enabling
productive use of respective economic instruments and natural resources.
Interaction between U.S. and Russian military forces in the Asia-Pacific
region will also continue to expand. The United States envisions a future
where U.S. and Russian forces work together with other nations in the region,
for instance, to provide effective humanitarian assistance and disaster
relief. Likewise, a stable and involved Russia may contribute substantially
to stemming weapons proliferation. The benefits of Russiaís constructive
involvement in regional security affairs cannot be ignored as an important
element in the strategic mix in Asia.