Why China stands to benefit from ambiguity on Crimea

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping (L) take part in video conference in Sochi, Russia, in February 2014 (Photo: AAP).

Author: Maria Repnikova, Asan Institute for Policy Studies and Georgetown University

From the outset of the Russia–Ukraine escalation, Russian official sources claimed to have secured China’s support. Most recently, following Russia’s official annexation of Crimea, President Vladimir Putin thanked China and India, which abstained from the UN Security Council vote condemning Russia.

In reality, however, Russia’s projection of China’s stance in this crisis has been misconstrued, as China consistently favoured strategic ambiguity Read more…

How the Ukraine crisis is pushing two superpowers together

Chinese President Xi Jinping is welcomed by his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during his first foreign visit since assuming the presidency. Western political and economic sanctions will inevitably push Moscow toward Beijing. (Source: AAP).

Author: Artyom Lukin, Far Eastern Federal University.

There is one international player that stands to gain from the recent turn of events in Ukraine, regardless of its outcome. This player apparently has nothing to do with the crisis that has engulfed Russia, the EU and the United States, and makes a point of staying on the sidelines. This player is China. Read more…

The Ukrainian crisis and Japan’s dilemma

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands at their meeting in the Bocharov Ruchei residence in Sochi, Russia, Saturday, 8 February 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Dmitry Filippov, University of Sheffield

The timing of the Ukrainian crisis could not have been worse for Japan, as it presented Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with the tactical dilemma of whether or not to fall in line with the international community by imposing sanctions against Russia.

So far, Japan’s reaction has been lukewarm compared to the response of the United States and the European Union. Read more…

Russia and Vietnam taking it to the next level

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang embrace after the cooperation signing ceremony between Russia and Vietnam at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam on 12 November, 2013. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Victor Sumsky, MGIMO

Vladimir Putin’s visit to Vietnam earlier this month, his third since assuming the Russian presidency, was accompanied by references to the ‘comprehensive strategic partnership’ between both countries. This wording has been adopted since last year, clearly indicating that the two countries are getting closer to each other and intend to cultivate a special bond. Read more…

Defence cooperation underpins Vietnam–Russia push for renewed economic cooperation

Russian President Vladimir Putin, talks with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang as they attend the cooperation signing ceremony between Russia and Vietnam at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam on 12 November 2013. Putin said that his country will expand its military supplies to Vietnam, as he held talks with his Vietnamese counterpart to boost ties between the former ideological allies. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Le Hong Hiep, UNSW ADFA and VNU

On 12 November 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin paid an official visit to Vietnam. This was his second visit to a country in the Asia Pacific since he regained the presidency in May 2012, and is further evidence of the maturing comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.

Vietnam’s close relationship with the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation, its main successor state, date back to the early decades of the Cold War. Read more…

Bilateral rivalry a stain on the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

Hamid Karzai. president of Afghanistan and Hassan Rouhani, president of Iran, attend a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) at the Ala-Archa state residence in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek, on 13 September 2013 (Photo: AAP).

Author: Bakhytzhan Kurmanov, ANU

More than 17 years ago the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) was founded by Russia, China and all bar two of the Central Asian republics (Uzbekistan became a member in 2001 and Turkmenistan has yet to join). One of the major goals of the SCO was to prevent the spread of terrorism, separatism and extremism in newly independent Central Asia. Read more…

Putin skips the East Asia Summit (again)

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the APEC Summit in Bali, Indonesia (Photo: AAP).

Author: Artyom Lukin, FEFU

The recent East Asia Summit (EAS) in Brunei was remarkable for the absence of two key world leaders — Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin.

The reason why Obama did not attend was plain enough: the US budget crisis forced the president to cancel his major Asian tour, which was to include not only the EAS, but also an APEC summit, as well as visits to Malaysia and the Philippines. Read more…

India’s Central Asia ambitions outfoxed by China and Russia

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh speaks to journalists in Merdeka Palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, 11 October ,2013  (Photo: AAP)

Author: Micha’el Tanchum, Shalem College

Over one year after the announcement of its ‘Connect Central Asia Policy’, New Delhi has been sidelined in four of the five Central Asian Republics. India’s revamped Central Asian initiative is partly directed at counter-balancing Chinese and Pakistani influence in the region. Read more…

Russia’s pivot to Eurasia and the battle for Ukraine

Members of non-government public movement Nastup ('The attack') burn goods made in Russia during their protest in front of the Russian embassy building in Kiev, Ukraine, 16 August 2013 (Photo: AAP)

Author: Kirill Muradov, Higher School of Economics

Nearly one year after the APEC Summit in Vladivostok, Russia’s trade policy focus seems to have drifted away from the Asia Pacific. Russia has reverted to a relatively silent profile in APEC, showed ambivalence towards the economic dialogue with ASEAN, and suspended negotiations for an FTA with New Zealand after the last negotiating round was held in July 2012. Read more…

Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s visit to Russia

Author: Dmitri Streltsov, MGIMO University

On 29–30 April 2013, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe paid a visit to Moscow.

It was the first official visit of a Japanese prime minister to Russia since Junichiro Koizumi’s trip to Moscow in January 2003. In many ways, the recent summit can be seen as not just an important meeting but even as a landmark event in the history of Russo–Japanese relations. Read more…

Russia’s ‘pivot’ to China

APTOPIX Russia China

Author: Lilia Shevtsova, Carnegie Moscow Center

Vladimir Putin has turned to foreign policy as a means of preserving the status quo as he faces increasing domestic discontent.

Long before Obama made his ‘pivot’ to Asia, therefore, Moscow had announced its turn to the east.

Read more…

Russia’s partnership with China a matter of necessity

Chinese President Xi Jinping is welcomed by his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during his first foreign visit since assuming the presidency. Western political and economic sanctions will inevitably push Moscow toward Beijing. (Source: AAP).

Author: Natasha Kuhrt, KCL

On 22 March, during his first visit to Russia since assuming the Chinese presidency, Xi Jinping and Russian president Vladimir Putin spoke about deepening the two countries’ strategic partnership.

Chinese and Russian officials also signed 30 agreements on cooperation in the areas of energy, trade, technology and military exchange.

Read more…

Sino-Russian gas cooperation: the reality and implications

The Gazprom logo stands in the foreground of the Russian Prime Minister's Office in Moscow.

Author: Keun-Wook Paik, OIES

For 10 years after 2000, cooperation between China and Russia in the natural gas sector was very limited.

Owing to political problems arising from Russian company TNK-BP’s ownership of the Kovykta gas field in Eastern Siberia, Moscow decided to prioritise the development of Chayandagas and the surrounding four major gas fields in the Sakha Republic. Read more…