Russia Continues to Look East to Asia (CNBC)

Analyst Dr. Michael Ivanovitch has written a piece for CNBC that contrary to current political folklore, Russians have not been chased back to Asia by the Western sanctions over the Ukrainian civil war. Instead, the Russians are strengthening ties with Asia to reinforce a strategically and geographically more balanced policy enunciated at the beginning of this century – long before China and the rest of Asia became a “fashionable must-do political, economic and military pivot.” Ivanovitch noted:

  • Sino-Russian trade and investment transactions are down by about 30% and 20%, respectively, from the same period of 2014 with Russians attributing declining nominal trade values to the lower energy prices while noting that their exports to China now have rising shares of farm products, as well as products of metals, chemical and textile industries.
  • With nearly a million barrels of oil per day flowing to China, Russia has edged out the Saudis as China’s largest energy supplier.
  • Russians are apparently promoting their higher value-added products in China with the governor of Khabarovsk recently being quoted as saying that there is so much “China business to keep Sukhoi warplanes manufacturer working overtime for the next ten years.”
  • Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s recent official visit to China marks twenty years of regular annual bilateral summits, and 16 years of similar meetings within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
  • The SCO members (China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) have also just finished their annual summit meeting where trade, investment, finance, transportation and cultural exchanges were discussed plus terrorism was also at the top of the agenda.

Ivanovitch also commented that South Korea is in a much better position to boost its Russian business because “Seoul refused to follow the West’s sanctions route, and – Japan beware – Koreans have almost everything in terms of products and technology that Tokyo can offer.”

Meanwhile and according to the Austrian economic research institute (WIFO), Germany’s “‘person of the year’ takes a 30 billion-euro hit and loses half a million jobs on Russian sanctions.”

To read the whole article, Russia’s long Asia history makes Xi, Medvedev cosy on energy, defense, trade, go to the website of CNBC.

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