Russia looks beyond China to avoid a shaky Asian pivot

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

Author: Artyom Lukin, FEFU

Facing trouble on its western borders, Russia is pinning its hopes on the East. Moscow has initiated its own Asian pivot, making efforts to cultivate political allies and economic partners in Asia.

This eastward drive has been in the making for quite a while. Read more…

A year of relative stability for Central Asian regimes

Russian President Vladimir Putin and President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov inspect an honor guard before their meeting at the Kuksaroi Presidential Residence in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, 10 December 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Dr Kirill Nourzhanov, ANU

By local standards, 2014 was a reasonably successful year for the leaders of Central Asian countries. There were no revolutions, insurgencies or mass protests threatening their grip on power. Incumbent heads of state carried out regime maintenance in their customary manner: focusing primarily on managing the inner circle of the ruling elite. Read more…

Putin supports Xi’s new diplomatic strategy to put China centre stage

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a welcome ceremony for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders Meeting held at the International Convention Center in Yanqi Lake, Beijing, on Tuesday, Nov 11, 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Rebecca Fabrizi, ANU

China is working to make the international order suit its interests better and put China front and centre in global affairs. Xi Jinping’s new diplomatic focus on multilateral diplomacy includes giving new profile to existing arrangements where China can lead, such as the BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). He is also pushing his own initiatives, such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, while pursuing economic reform and military modernisation. Read more…

The future of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (L) speaks with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang (R) after visiting an exhibition of innovative technologies at the Open Innovations Forum in Moscow, Russia, 14 October 2014.  (Photo: AAP).

Author: Swagata Saha, Observer Research Foundation

China recently reaffirmed that it backs India and Pakistan becoming members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). At the 14th meeting of the Council of Heads of States of SCO on 12 September, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for full membership for SCO observers, including India and Pakistan. Read more…

Russian roulette at the G20 

Moves to exclude Russia from the G20 proceedings were quashed by the BRICS countries. The annexation of Crimea has threatened the most important legal and political foundation of the international order, the non-use of force to acquire territory. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Bruce Jones, Brookings

The BRICS have brusquely quashed an early effort by Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop and prime minister Abbott to exclude Russia from the Brisbane G20 over its actions in Ukraine. Though diplomatically phrased, the meaning was clear: ‘The custodianship of the G20 belongs to all Member States equally and no one Member State can unilaterally determine its nature and character’. Read more…

Is the G20 the right place to resolve the Ukraine crisis?

Ukrainian servicemen patrol on an armoured personnel carrier on a road near Debaltseve in Donetsk region, 1 October 2014. The Ukrainian crisis — which has pitted Russia against other members of the G20, led by the United States — has cast an ominous shadow over the Brisbane summit in November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: W. Pal Sidhu, Brookings

The Ukrainian crisis — which has pitted Russia against other members of the G20, led by the United States — has cast an ominous shadow over the Brisbane summit in November 2014. The unfolding tragedy in Ukraine has the potential in the short term to dent the ambitious G20 agenda and in the long term to wreck the group itself. How it is resolved will have significant implications for the G20 and other potential international disputes. Read more…

Latin America lures Asia’s big powers

Chinese president Xi Jinping reviews the guard of honour upon his arrival at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil at the start of his tour of Latin America, 17 July 2014 in Brasilia. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Juan J. Palacios, University of Guadalajara

Considered for most of the twentieth century as the United States’ backyard, Latin America is today a place where other major powers seek to exercise a growing influence and find a steady supply of energy and natural resources as well as markets and investment outlets. Read more…