The Far East may now pose the greatest challenge and offer the most significant prospects, although the Middle East historically has been the Third World region of greatest opportunity and danger for the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union, after all, is a major Asian power; one-third of its territory lies east of Irkutsk in east Asian Siberia, and some 20 percent of the Soviet population is Asian. The Soviet military buildup pushed both China and Japan toward increased cooperation with the United States on Asian security issues. The Mikhail Gorbachev regime has made a dramatic attempt to alter the political environment for Soviet policy in Asia and to shift regional perceptions in its favor. In major foreign policy speeches in the Soviet Far East, Gorbachev articulated his new approach. The Soviets have given increased attention to Northeast Asia since Gorbachev came to power and have modified several aspects of their policy.