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    RUSSIA HAS NO IRRECONCILABLE DISAGREEMENTS WITH ASIA (UPDATE)

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    MOSCOW, January 28, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Russia has no controversies that could erupt into a conflict with either Asian country, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov says in his article published at the foreign ministry's website.

    "Moreover, we have common views on the world order, and the Asian security and interaction system with the overwhelming majority of them (Asian nations)," Ivanov noted.

    In his words, the regional countries are interested in a strong, economically powerful and politically active Russia as a factor of Asia's stability and development.

    According to the minister, cautiousness and distrust towards Russia that dominated Asia some fifteen years ago have been overcome. "This result was achieved through careful and targeted efforts in the Asian area of Russia's foreign policy," Ivanov writes.

    According to the Russian foreign ministry, good opportunities have arisen recently to develop relations with Japan. "Particular attention will be paid to large-scale Russian-Japanese trade and economic partnership, which is a prerequisite for solving bilateral political issues (above all, the problem of the so-called "northern areas" - the four Kurile Islands that Japan lost in WWII and wants to regain)," Ivanov stressed.

    "Russia, like other countries, is interested in ensuring the non-nuclear status of the Korean peninsula and its commitment to nuclear non-proliferation, and peaceful co-operation in Northeast Asia, with our direct involvement," the minister stressed.

    This is why Moscow attaches great importance to the relevant talks. "We expect them to result in forming a reliable security system in this region," the article runs.

    "We will certainly not overlook the military and political situation in south Asia," Ivanov noted recalling that Russia hailed the initiatives of the Indian premier to improve relations with Pakistan. "We hope that the sides will continue effectively implementing measures to combat trans-border terrorism, which is the main source of tensions between these countries," said the Russian foreign minister.

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