Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong said August 29 that his country supports the Japan-U.S. security treaty because it values the presence of the U.S. in the region and sees the review of the Japan-U.S. defense guidelines as beneficial in securing transparency.

In a meeting with Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, Goh said he is closely watching the review process and he hopes vagueness in the guidelines will be removed through such a process, Foreign Ministry officials said. Goh was quoted as telling Hashimoto that he hopes the relationship between Japan and China will strength because strong relations between the two countries are crucial to the stability of the Asia-Pacific region. Hashimoto responded that he sees his visit to China early next month a good opportunity to strengthen bilateral ties.

Goh said that China should not be contained but should be encouraged to constructively engage in the international community, the officials said. On the bilateral relationship, Hashimoto and Goh agreed to strengthen cooperation in the research and development of high-tech fields such as the information technology sector, according to the officials.

The leaders also agreed to further strengthen the bilateral cooperation in assisting the development of third countries, they said. Goh told Hashimoto that Singapore will urge the Cambodians to hold free and democratic election next May and is opposed to the use of force to resolve political crisis, the officials said.

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