АСЕАН в повороте России на Восток
The set of problems relating to nuclear weapons allegedly being developed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has traditionally been a major factor militating against the generally cooperative development paradigm of Asia-Pacific. Much time and energy have been injected into the Six-Party Talks but to date they appear to have demonstrated a low degree of effectiveness. Based on the premise that any result, however modest it may be, must initially be regarded in a positive way new mechanisms to reinvigorate these negotiations are urgently needed.
At this point, a potential contribution of cooperation between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Russian Federation as a new factor of Asia-Pacific stability deserves special attention. The study of whether and how it can influence the evolution of the North Korean nuclear problem seems to be a timely exercise.
The paper consists of three parts. Part One assesses the impact of the stalemate in the Six-Party Talks on Russia’s interests and outlines a number of nuances in its approach to these negotiations. Part Two specifies the North Korean nuclear problem in ASEAN’s order of international priority and overviews recent trends in ASEAN’s relations with DPRK. Part Three provides insights into how cooperation between Russia and ASEAN can strengthen the overall cooperative potential in Asia-Pacific. In conclusion, recommendations with regard to North Korea’s nuclear issue are offered.
Since the global financial crisis of 2007–2009 all Asian powers (both rising and already well established) initiated or supported some large-scale infrastructure projects in the region. The Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) has put much effort into promoting connectivity concept both within the Association and via the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Korean President Pak officially presented a Eurasian initiative. India started to position itself as a continental power and proposed an idea of a new North–South corridor—a cross-Eurasian trade route. China also put its project ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) into the centre of its foreign economic policy, cultural diplomacy, military strategy, and internal strategic development. Russia put such initiatives as modernisation and promotion of the northern sea route and renovation of the Trans-Siberian route as important objectives of national development policy. This chapter investigates the role of Russian Siberia and the Far East—33 % of the territory of the Asian continent—in these new strategic plans. Our finding is that a place has already been found for the Russian Far East on a new infrastructure map of Eurasia, but Siberia remains mostly excluded from all the key projects despite its enormous resources and technological and human potential. Analysis of official documents, development strategies, business news, and transport budget allocation all support this proposition. It appears that there is a serious challenge for Russian authorities (both federal and regional), while Siberian development policy needs to be reconsidered and written into cross-border and continental projects—not only in the long-existing transit dream of the Trans-Siberian route.
While Russia’s policy in Southeast Asia encounters serious deficiencies, in 2016 plans to raise Russia-ASEAN relationship to the level of strategic partnership were announced at the top level. The puzzle, therefore, is why cooperation between Russia and ASEAN in Eurasia will lay the foundation for Russia-ASEAN strategic partnership. The article gives insights in Russia’s policy in Southeast Asia through the prism of ASEAN prospective plans, traces the increase in bilateral cooperation in Eurasia, assesses the potential of the format ASEAN-SCO-EAEU and its implications for Russia’s policy in Southeast Asia. The authors argue that Russia-ASEAN strategic partnership will be premised upon their cooperation in the Greater Eurasia, which will give a strong impetus to Russia’s policy in Southeast Asia. The findings include the identification of reasons behind premising the planned Russia-ASEAN strategic partnership, the obstacles the parties will have to overcome, and the impact of this cooperation upon Russia-ASEAN connectivity.
Joint statement on cooperation on the construction of joint Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) project was signed on May 8, 2015. It became a new milestone in Russia-China relations.
EAEU is an integrational project of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz republic and since 2016 – Armenia. SREB is a Chinese initiative, which primarily implies the extension of investment activities in transport and logistics in Eurasian region. Though the EAEU-SREB integration is not so much transit project as co-development project. In this case EAEU provides institutional framework of cooperation, and China – investments. This model will allow not only to overcome potential differences in Central Asia, but also creates preconditions for full-scale economic cooperation in the community of Greater Eurasia, which may become a new center of economic development in the coming decades.