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Pacific Rim ministers approved a plan today to create the world's largest free-trade zone within 25 years, but they acknowledged the blueprint was vague and did not address some touchy areas. "It will be a slow process since they still have many details to work out and Japan remains opposed to dropping trade barriers," says TIME's Oscar Chiang. "But it was a significant step forward." The summit, which President Clinton had to skip because of his budget battles with Congress, now turns to some thorny political problems. "The next big issue is China and Taiwan," says Chiang. "Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen warned today that they would use force if necessary to unify China. The Chinese will meet with vice-president Gore, who went to Japan in Clinton's place. But the Taiwan question remains the big roadblock to improving U.S.-China relations."