Publication in Economics, Politics and Public Policy in East Asia and the Pacific


From barter to partner in the Russia–India arms trade

Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Zvezda shipyard during a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, 4 September 2019 (Photo: Alexander Nemenov/Pool via Reuters).

Author: Pankaj K Jha, OP Jindal Global University

In the last week of March 2020, Dmitry Shugayev of the Russian Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation revealed that India would purchase 400 T-90S tanks, along with a number of MiG-29 fighter jets. While Russian arms exports to India have seen a decline of 47 per cent in 2019, new orders might change the scenario in 2020. Read more…

Cooperation grows in Central Asia

Leaders of the SCO countries pose for a family photo during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan 14 June, 2019 (Photo: Reuters/Zavrazhin).

Author: Kirill Nourzhanov, ANU

The main political trend in Central Asia for 2019 was the steady improvement of interstate relations. This was primarily driven by Uzbekistan’s desire to repair relations with its neighbours. The country’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev noted ‘our rapprochement and expansion of cooperation in the region is a demanded and irreversible process’.

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US–Russia cooperation on North Korea

Author: Anthony V Rinna, Sino-NK

Russia has recently taken up an important role in multilateral diplomacy over the North Korean security crisis. North Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui visited Moscow in November 2019 for strategic dialogue with senior Russian diplomats. There, Russian officials presented Choe with the contents of a joint Sino–Russian action plan for peace, which correlates to the Sino–Russian ‘roadmap’ for Korean security proposed in 2017. Read more…

Russia’s tilt to China threatens South Korea

Author: Anthony Rinna, Sino-NK

South Korea’s decision not to renew its participation in the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), a Japan–South Korea agreement, is magnifying the spectre of Chinese and Russian coaction in Northeast Asia. This is understandable given Seoul’s withdrawal from GSOMIA came shortly after a diplomatic spat with Russia following the Russian air force’s alleged incursion into South Korean sovereign airspace during a joint patrol with the Chinese air force.

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China and Russia’s sky-high strategy

A Russian A-50 military aircraft flies near the disputed islands called Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea, in this handout picture taken by Japan Air Self-Defence Force and released by the Joint Staff Office of the Defense Ministry of Japan 23 July 2019 (Photo: Reuters/Joint Staff Office of the Defense Ministry of Japan).

Author: Artyom Lukin, Far Eastern Federal University

On 23 July 2019, Russian and Chinese warplanes — long-range nuclear-capable bombers accompanied by fighter jets and surveillance aircraft — conducted a ‘joint patrol’ over the East China Sea and the Sea of Japan. This marked the first ever joint air force operation by Russia and China beyond their borders. Read more…

Is Russia flexing its muscles in Asia?

Russian President Vladimir Putin, accompanied by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff of Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov, tours an exhibition of military transport and equipment as he visits a Defence Ministry’s flight test centre in the town of Akhtubinsk in Astrakhan Region, Russia, 14 May 2019 (Photo: Reuters/Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky).

Author: Anthony Rinna, Sino-NK

On 23 July, a Russian air force A-50 surveillance aircraft entered the airspace near the Liancourt Rocks, which are administered by South Korea under the name Dokdo and also claimed by Japan under the name Takeshima. The South Korean air force fired several hundred warning shots at the Russian aircraft in response. Read more…

Decrypting the Russia–South Korea relationship

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov shakes hands with South Korea's National Security Office chief Chung Eui-yong during a meeting in Moscow, Russia 13 March 2018. (Photo: Reuters, Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Author: Anthony Rinna, Sino-NK

Observing South Korea–Russia relations offers insights into how the ongoing security standoff with Pyongyang affects Russia’s interests within Northeast Asia. A core feature at present of Moscow–Seoul ties is the New Northern Policy, a South Korean plan for economic integration that Russia is receptive of. Read more…

Commerce in the East and politics in the West for Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a news conference following the second Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, 27 China April 2019 (Photo: Reuters/Aleksey).

Author: Artyom Lukin, Far Eastern Federal University

In his annual presidential address in February 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin put Asian countries first in the foreign policy section of his speech — ahead of Europe and the United States. Putin’s Asia policy is often dubbed a ‘turn to the East’. But Russia’s Asian pivot has two essential, albeit unspoken, qualifications. Read more…

Dealing with a new American psychosis

Chinese President Xi Jinping looks on as soldiers carry the Chinese flag during a ceremony in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 8 June 2018 (Photo: Greg Baker/Pool/via Reuters).

Author: Editorial Board, ANU

US Vice President Mike Pence’s declaration of a ‘new Cold War’ against China in October 2018 marked the first official endorsement of a force that’s claimed powerful influence over thinking about the United States’ new position in the world. It came after Trump’s tariff war was well underway and the US Treasury had issued regulations to screen Chinese inward investment tightly, in line with the new Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act. For good measure, the US Commerce Department will also screen corporate technology flows destined for China, following the updated Export Administration Act.

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China, Russia and the United States contest a new world order

A military officer adjusts a Russian flag ahead of a welcome ceremony hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping for Russian President Vladimir Putin outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 8 June 2018 (Photo: Reuters/Jason Lee).

Author: Dmitri Trenin, Carnegie Moscow Center

The United States has recently entered a period of great-power rivalry with China and confrontation with Russia. The China–Russia rapprochement has simultaneously acquired the quality of an entente: a basic proximity of worldviews and close coordination of policies short of a formal alliance.

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Abe’s underperforming Russia policy faces growing political backlash

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe make a joint statement following their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia 22 January 2019 (Photo: Reuters/Alexei Druzhinin).

Author: James D.J. Brown, Temple University Japan

The June 2018 encounter between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was not the only momentous summit to take place in Singapore last year. The city-state also hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in November at which they agreed to accelerate peace treaty talks based on the countries’ joint declaration of 1956.  Read more…

Why Russia is standing aloof on the Korean Peninsula

Russian President Vladimir Putin enters a hall as he attends a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, 22 January 2019 (Photo: Reuters/Alexander Nemenov).

Author: Artyom Lukin, Far Eastern Federal University

For more than a year there has been a flurry of diplomatic activity on the Korean Peninsula. But Russia is conspicuously absent from the big game. President Vladimir Putin is yet to meet his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong-un, who has already held four summits with Chinese President Xi Jinping, three meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and one rendezvous with US President Donald Trump. Read more…

Russia looks further east

Russia's President Vladimir Putin attends a news conference on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Singapore, 15 November 2018 (Photo: Reuters/Alexei Druzhinin).

Author: Chris Cheang, RSIS

Russian President Vladimir Putin made his first-ever state visit to Singapore on 13 November 2018. Coinciding with the 33rd ASEAN summit, 3rd ASEAN–Russia summit, 13th East Asia Summit (EAS), and 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Russia and Singapore, the visit marks an important step in Russia’s efforts to broaden its pivot to the East. Read more…

India–Japan embrace should stretch out to Eurasia

Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister, and Shinzo Abe, Japan's Prime Minister, shake hands during a joint news conference at Abe's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, 29 October 2018 (Photo: Kiyoshi Ota/Pool via Reuters).

Author: Jagannath Panda, IDSA

No other partnership has witnessed the kind of unprecedented progress that the India–Japan partnership has over the last two decades. The new India–Japan Vision Statement — a product of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Tokyo to meet his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe from 28–29 October 2018 — reiterates the two leaders’ commitment to work together in the Indo-Pacific and the world at large. Read more…

Big gains or growing pains in store for the SCO?

Russian President Vladimir Putin, President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping and President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon are seen during a photo session of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Qingdao, China, 10 June, 2018 (Photo: Reuters/Sputnik).

Author: Jingdong Yuan, University of Sydney

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is expanding. At its 2018 Qingdao Summit, it formally welcomed India and Pakistan as the organisation’s new members. Stretching from Eurasia to South Asia, the SCO now contains 44 per cent of the world’s population and 21 per cent of its GDP. It is also an organisation with four nuclear weapons states and two on the UN Security Council. Despite these impressive numbers, the organisation has yet to demonstrate its full potential and its expansion presents new challenges just as it offers new opportunities. Read more…