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It is essential that Japan, the United States, China and Russia enjoy stable relations for peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region, according to a diplomatic blue book released April 24 by the Foreign Ministry.

“The presence of the U.S. remains the most important element to secure the stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region,” the annual report on Japan’s foreign policy and overseas activities says.

“The four countries meanwhile have an important role for stability and prosperity in the region, and stable relations among the four countries are indispensable elements” to achieve this, the report says.

The four nations’ relations deepened last year with a spate of diplomatic activity, such as summits and dialogue at various levels, it says. Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, for example, visited China in September. This was followed by a visit to Tokyo in November by then Chinese Premier Li Peng.

Through such visits, which were held to mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Japan and China, friendly bilateral relations have developed, the report says. In addition, Chinese President Jiang Zemin visited Washington last October and agreed with President Bill Clinton to deepen bilateral ties.

Hashimoto and Russian President Boris Yeltsin also made a breakthrough in relations last November at an informal summit in Russia, where they agreed to make efforts to conclude a bilateral peace treaty by the end of 2000.

As for Asia’s financial woes, the report says international cooperation is essential to deal with the crisis. “It is also important to make efforts to establish an international cooperation framework to prevent the crisis from spreading,” the report says.

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