Japan–Russia relations need more than just energy

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in Sochi, Russia. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Anthony V. Rinna, Sino-NK

On 16 May 2016 Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Envoy to the Far Eastern district, Yury Trutnev, met with officials from Japanese and Russian energy and metallurgical companies. The meeting followed a summit between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss enhancing bilateral ties.

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Talks on Russo–Japanese territorial disputes still going nowhere


Author: Dmitry Streltsov, MGIMO

On 6 May, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met in Sochi in a bid strengthen trust between the two leaders. Russia and Japan still view each other from the standpoint of the Cold War: for Russia, Japan is first of all the ‘junior partner’ of the United States and a location for US military bases; for Japan, Russia is a permanent source of instability that is unwilling to return its native territories. Read more…

What happened to Russia’s ‘pivot to Asia’?

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (L) and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi attend a joint press conference at the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing, China on 29 April 2016.

Authors: Dmitry Filippov, University of Sheffield and Peter Marino

In early 2014, Russia faced economic sanctions in response to its annexation of Crimea. Many in the country viewed the sanctions as proof that the West has contempt for Russia’s ‘sphere of influence’ in Ukraine and was trying to subvert Russian foreign policy. Responding to this pressure from the West, Moscow turned its attention to the East — specifically, to China.

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Japan courts Russia at Sochi summit

Russian President Vladimir Putin greets Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe prior to their talks in Sochi, Russia, 6 May 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: James D. J. Brown, Temple University, and Andrei I. Kozinets, Far Eastern Federal University

The two most prominent features of Japanese foreign policy are caution and the US alliance. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s decision to travel to Sochi for a summit with President Vladimir Putin on 6 May was therefore remarkable. Read more…

Mongolia makes the most of the middle position

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj and their Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Heads of State Summit in Tajikistan, September 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Anthony Rinna, Sino-NK

On 14 April 2016 the foreign ministers of Mongolia and Russia signed what they termed a Medium-term Strategic Partnership Development Program in Ulaanbaatar. Plans to establish a strategic partnership between Mongolia and Russia date at least to September 2014, when the presidents of the two countries met in the Mongolian capital. Read more…

Two years after Crimea, are Japan–Ukraine ties weakening?

Author: Anthony V. Rinna, Sino-NK

Times of crisis are a chance to discover who your true friends are. Ukraine learned this lesson two years ago. While it was largely Euro–Atlantic nations that spoke out against Russia’s actions in Crimea, Ukraine also found a supporter in Japan. Read more…

Is Sinocentrism putting Russia’s interests at risk?

Chinese President Xi Jinping at a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow during his visit to Russia in Marich 2013 —  first foreign destination after taking office. His talks with the Russian leadership included discussions on energy supplies. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Natasha Kuhrt, King’s College

Much has been made of Russia’s ‘sudden’ pivot to the Asia Pacific, but is it all much ado about nothing? In the context of the US rebalance to Asia and heightened rhetoric over Ukraine, the policy is not so much a pivot to the Asia Pacific as intensifying Sinocentrism in Russia’s Asia policy. Read more…