The situation in the Asia Pacific region is relatively stable. An important potential for interaction and cooperation has been gained here in recent years. Integration processes are actively developing. A fruitful dialogue on ways to ensure security and stability in the region is being carried on in the framework of multilateral structures, a wide range of measures to promote confidence-building and preventive diplomacy is being worked over. There is positive dynamics in relations among the major regional powers. The development of global fight against terrorism had a consolidating influence upon the situation in the Asia-Pacific region.
The signing of agreements on reduction of strategic offensive potentials by Russia and the USA during the recent Russian American summit in Moscow will undoubtedly have a positive influence on the situation in the APR in general as well as on the solving of problems in the sphere of disarmament and non-proliferation in the region.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which is now on the final stage of Its international legal establishment, can serve as an example of successful multilateral security interaction. In spite of the. short period of its existence, the SCO, which Is turning into one of the key stabilizing factors in Central Asia, has already provided its member-states with effective channels of cooperation in the area of security, defense, foreign affairs, law enforcement activities and, In particular, in the fight against terrorism and extremism.
At the same time, the security situation is not very easy. Considerable conflict potential, concerning traditional and non-traditional security threats, remains in the region. The rivalry for leadership and influence among a number of major regional powers is intensifying, military expenses are growing rapidly, the process of arms modernization is underway.
The right of the regional states to have bilateral defense agreements and to cooperate with other states (including non-regional powers) to ensure their security is unquestionable. However, it would be hardly possible to agree with the establishment of a regional security system on the basis of bilateral military alliances in Asia. Such actions would certainly undermine the difficult process of developing multilateral dialogue mechanisms in politics and security, and could entail the appearance of dividing lines in the region.
Strengthening of peace and stability in-the Korean Peninsula remains one of the main problems, which requires permanent attention from international community. The main factor in this process is the reconciliation and cooperation between the North and the South. The decision of the DPRK and the Republic of Korea to resume full scale negotiations could contribute to enhance stability, security and cooperation in the Korean Peninsula.
Not only the renewal of contacts between the DPRK and the Republic of Korea is of major importance, but also the resumption of the talks between Pyongyang and Washington. In this respect an excessively rigid approach towards the DPRK can hardly be approved. It can only provoke a respective response. There are no such words as "rogue state" or "axis of evil" in our vocabulary. We hope that previous positive movements towards solving nuclear, missile and other issues, made in the course of negotiations between the USA and DPRK under the Clinton's administration, will be constructively used and developed. However, excessive and unrealistic demands to Pyongyang can deadlock not only US-DPRK dialogue but inter Korean contacts as well.
The tension in the Taiwan Strait remains. It is aggravated both by the refusal of the present Taiwan leadership to settle the relations with China on the principle "one country . two systems" and the increasing foreign military assistance to Taipei. Russia recognize Taiwan as an integral part of China, and the Chinese government as a sole lawfu government of the country. In our opinion the role of regional states consists in their contribution to create a favorable international environment to settle the Taiwan problem In this connection it is. necessary to restrain from any actions which could provoke thE aggravation of inter-Chinese relations and, as a follow-up, of the situation in the APR.
.The dispute on sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea is fraught with potential danger of destabilizing the regional situation. We consistently stand for its settlement through political dialogue between the parties directly involved in the dispute and positively assess the elaboration of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.
Territorial disputes over separate sectors of land border still have place among 2 number of regional states. Nevertheless, existing border disputes do not present immediate threat to stability and security in the APR, and the interested parties arE conducting negotiations on their settlement.
Russia welcomes the declaration of independence of East Timor. It is very important that the key role in gaining sovereignty by East Timorean people was played by the UN. The UNTAET became an excellent example of a successful peace-keeping operation under the aegis of the universal Organisation, which, in cooperation with regional structures and donor states, allowed to resolve the crisis, to guarantee the process of democratic development and to lay the foundation of sovereignty for this territory. Creation of a truly viable and stable state will require the post-conflict presence of the U N in East Timor. It is important that the mandate of the forthcoming UN Support
Mission in East Timor is linked to the process of fulfilling peace-building tasks and its - presence will be gradually reduced after these tasks are fulfilled.
Russia supports the efforts of Indonesian government to counteract separatism and is ready to continue extending diplomatic assistance to it on issues of preserving the country's territorial integrity. We believe that instability in Indonesia -the largest nation in South-East Asia -negatively affects the whole Asia-Pacific environment, and the country's disintegration could have unpredictable consequences.
The developments in South Asia also produce a certain destabilizing impact on the regional situation. Further escalation of tension in IndianPakistani relations arises serious concerns. Russia decisively condemned the continuing acts of trans-border terrorism against India, which provoked another crisis in relations between New-Delhi and Islamabad. We gave positive assessment to measures, undertaken by the Pakistani authorities, to stop the activities of terrorist organizations on the territory controlled by Pakistan. At the same time we believe that only carrying these measures to their logical conclusion could constitute the evidence of Islamabad's full turn towards the fight against terrorism on the regional and global scale.
The problem of nuclear non-proliferation remains one of the most important challenges to regional security. The fact that some Asian states are openly carrying on nuclear military programs negatively affects the whole APR. In Russia's opinion, the best way to ensure stability and security in the region could be the most urgent and unconditional joining the NonProliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty by India and Pakistan as non-nuclear states and putting all their nuclear activities under the IAEA control.
An important contribution to the enhancement of regional stability is made by the efforts of ASEAN member states to create a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone in South East Asia (SEANWFZ). Russia Is prepared to accede to the Protocol to the SEANWFZ Treaty as soon as all issues raised by nuclear powers are settled.
With the turn of the international community -after the terrorist acts in the USA on September 11, 2001 -to fight international terrorism, the APR witnesses both new possibilities and new challenges.
All countries of the region condemned the acts of terrorism against the USA, many of them joined the antiterrorist campaign in Afghanistan. This campaign, in its turn, became the most important factor determining the level of security and military and political stability in the region.
The events of September 11, 2001 and their consequences actualized the problems of terrorism and extremism for many countries in the APR, revealed the links of major international terrorist "cartels" with the groups of religious radicals and separatists acting there as well as with the local centers of organized crime and drug trafficking.
The USA's assistance to the Philippines in conducting military operation against paramilitary islamist organization "Abu Sayaf", in line with efforts to combat international terrorism, became a substantial new element in the regional situation.
In spite of the fact that the majority of the APR states do not have large hotbeds of terrorism on their territory, practically all of them undertook urgent measures to enhance their abilities to oppose this evil; they demonstrated their readiness for international cooperation on bilateral basis as well as in the framework of multilateral regional structures.
The problem of terrorism and connected to terrorism security threats essentially became a new stimulus for stirring up the activities of ASEAN, an important international organization, which is viewed by Russia as one of the most ponderable centers of political and economic influence in the-region.
Intensification of ASEAN political activity produced an important positive Impact on the work of ARF which remains the unique all-region structure dealing with security issues. Russia advocates the ARF wider engagement in antiterrorist issues, establishment within the Forum's structures of appropriate working mechanisms, turning it into an organizing base for regional states cooperation in antiterrorist direction.
Within the ARF framework and together with ASEAN Russia continues the work on drafting the Declaration on Principles Guiding Mutual Relations in Asia Pacific (the "Pacific Concord"). Russia believes that the adoption of this "code of conduct" will be a substantial step forward in the ARF process, will contribute to further facilitating regional security interaction, including the struggle against terrorism.
Considering the perspectives of developing multilateral antiterrorist interaction in such a multinational and poll-confessional region as the APR it is necessary to pay special attention to the fact that the efforts to fight terrorism and extremism should not be used as a reason to stir up interethnic and inter-religious discord. From this point of view, approaches deriving from unilateral use of force concepts could be extremely destructive.
The military operation in Afghanistan had a positive significance in terms of liquidating the major base of terrorism, extremism and drug trafficking. However the fight against terrorism is not limited to this operation only and should have a comprehensive
and long-term character. This fight should accumulate political, diplomatic and economic. methods. Adopting efficient measures to suppress terrorist financing is of great
It is of principal importance that the fight against terrorism should be conducted on the basis of international law proceeding from the central coordinating role of the UN and the main responsibility of its SC in ensuring international peace and security.
Russia does not support drawing up " black lists" of states nor double standards approach towards terrorist actions. It is necessary to search for deep-grounded causes of terrorism including social and economic ones. In this regard one of the main conditions to ensure security and stability in the APR is to make globalization processes more manageable.
We are. confident that effective counteraction to ail problems and challenges which the APR faces today requires coordinated efforts from all the regional states, increasing efficiency of all the existing regional multilateral structures and cooperation mechanisms, in particular, of those aimed at enhancing confidence building measures and crisis settlement. Our main goal in APR is the creation of. a multipolar cooperative system of regional security, based on equal cooperation. opportunities for all the states situated in the region.