- [Extracts and boldening by PiotrBein — click on titles for the whole text]
[…] the people in the two countries “seem more interested in looking to the West than to each other.” Without doubt, it is a word of caution addressed directly to the Kremlin that the onus is on the two leaderships to do some course correction.
[…] perceptive observers couldn’t have been surprised. They could sense for a while already that something was amiss in the Sino-Russian relationship notwithstanding the rhetoric over it or even the wonderful chemistry Moscow and Beijing displayed in Turtle Bay in the recent months when they whacked the West twice with double-veto of the latter’s resolution on Syria.
Beijing seems to harbor a grouse that China went along with Russia in goose steps on the Syrian issue although it has no bases in Syria or any special interests to safeguard, leave alone that it isn’t a stakeholder in the Bashar al-Assad regime by any stretch of imagination. But when it came to the Asia-Pacific situation, as tensions began mounting dangerously between China on the one side and the US and Japan on the other, Russia was nowhere to be seen.
[…] if the innocents abroad had ever thought that a Russia-China alliance against the US’ “imperialist hegemony” is the natural thing to happen in the contemporary world situation, they are barking up the wrong tree.
Reviewing the four months of the Putin presidency, it becomes apparent that Gazprom is forever on the lookout to boost its cooperation with other countries but the deadlock in the negotiations over the supply of gas from Russia to China continue and Moscow is not in any tearing hurry to reach an accord. On its part, Beijing also seems to be getting the message that its expectations that Putin will accelerate the negotiations on the mega gas deal after his return to the Kremlin were proving unrealistic. Beijing senses that no matter who occupies the Kremlin, there is a remarkable consistency in the policy priorities of the Russian elites, which are focused on Russia’s integration with the Western world.
[…] Russia is caught in a bind when it comes to the development of Siberia and the Far East. The logical thing would be to draw foreign investment from the major economic powers and integrate the region with the dynamic Asia-Pacific market. But Japan remains lukewarm pending the resolution of the Kurile Islands dispute and South Korea by itself has limitations to be the locomotive of growth for Siberia or the Russian Far East.
India lies far away. Whereas, it is China that is raring to go in developing trade and investment with Siberia and the Russian Far East. But the catch is that Russia doesn’t trust Chinese intentions in the long term and the fear of Chinese migration to the vast expanse of Siberia and the Far East is only increasing. In short, Russia is unable to get the correct mix of foreign investment that would bring in Chinese capital in large volumes but would “balance” any towering Chinese presence in Siberia and the Far East.
[Chinese daily Global Times:] “There is strategic cooperation on major international issues… especially on issues of international security, including opposition to efforts at the UN Security Council to enact tougher measures against Russia. China views Russia as the most important strategic partner.
“However, problems do exist between the two nations. China and Russia have a comprehensive and coordinated strategic partnership. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that there is no gulf or conflict between the two. China and Russia both have own national interests. Just like any other bilateral relationship in the world, Sino-Russian relations are finally determined by national interests. Conflicts or even confrontations are inevitable.”
[…] Beijing has measured Moscow’s response to the rising tensions in the Far East and found it falling far short of the support it expected for the Chinese stance on the territorial dispute – while overlooking that Russia has its own legitimate reasons stemming from its self-interests for not taking sides. Thus, China has been left to draw the conclusion that Russia is in no mood to be drawn into China’s diplomatic storms with its neighbors or the US.
[…] Russia is part and parcel of the Asia-Pacific region. It believes unfettered cooperation with other Asia-Pacific economies can help it dramatically speed up social and economic development in its Far East and Siberia.
In Vladivostok, it will be seeking further economic integration into Asia and the Pacific. In pursuing this integration, it will be building on the experience of its Customs Union and Single Economic Area with Belarus and Kazakhstan. Importantly, this three-way union is built on the rules of the World Trade Organization, of which Russia is now a full member. Russia hopes the Customs Union will ultimately evolve into a Eurasian Economic Union, a global economic and political player which would form a bridge between the Asia-Pacific region and the European Union. […]
by Brendan P. O’Reilly