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US-Soviet Talks Set On Asian Hot Spots

September 8, 1985

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Soviet and U.S. diplomats, continuing a series of talks on global hot spots, will focus on problems in the Far East during discussions in Moscow this week, the State Department says.

A three-member U.S. delegation will meet Soviet diplomats on Thursday and Friday to review their differences over Indochina, Korea and other areas of policy conflict.

″The aim of the discussions is to reduce tensions in the area, the Far East,″ Anita Stockman, a state department spokeswoman said Saturday. ″These discussions follow previous talks with the Soviets held in February, May and June on the Middle East, Afghanistan and southern Africa.″

Regional disputes are also expected to be on the agenda when President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev hold their summit meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, in November.

U.S. policymakers are especially concerned about the continuing occupation of Cambodia by Vietnam, creating tensions along Cambodia’s border with Thailand. For years, the United States has been hoping that the Soviet Union would use its influence with the Vietnamese government to spark negotiations aimed at ending the occupation. The Soviet Union has blamed the conflict on Western backing for anti-Vietnamese guerrillas in Cambodia.

The Reagan administration also has asserted that the Soviet Union has added significantly to its military capability in East Asia, thereby heightening tensions in the region.

Improvements in North Korea’s Soviet-equipped air force and improvements at bases in Vietnam have been cited in recent months as examples of the Soviet buildup.

The U.S. delegation will be headed by Paul Wolfowitz, assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and the Soviet group by Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Kapitsa, who is in charge of Asian affairs, Ms. Stockman said.

The talks were suggested by Secretary of State George P. Shultz during his meeting with Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze last month in Helsinki.

The New York Times in Sunday editions quoted a senior state department official as saying: ″Our main philosophy is that it is helpful to be as clear as possible about one another’s position toward situations which could lead to wider conflicts and that a clear understanding of our positions will help to avoid additional crises.″

Wolfowitz will not be negotiating to solve any specific problems, but the official added, ″Obviously, if a clear and forceful exposition of our position can move things forward in a positive direction, we’ll welcome it.″

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