In theory, the seizure of a greater share of Sakhalin’s resource wealth by the federal authorities could lead to a fairer distribution of wealth throughout the Russian Far East. The fear, however, is that further centralization of budgetary revenues will merely encourage the pursuit of vanity projects that will not come to fruition for over a decade, if ever.
Recent US sanctions against China and Russia are signs of the Trump administration’s toughening approach to North Korea. Ironically, these sanctions come on the heels of a UN Security Council resolution imposing new measures against North Korea that the US, China and Russia voted in favor of.
Mr Putin and Mr Xi have found an unlikely ally in Mr Trump. The latter’s clumsy approach to foreign policy and fractious relations with long-time allies leave the west poorly equipped to push back.
While Russia repositions itself as a stand-alone power in the north-central portion of the world’s largest continent, its leaders are seeking to create a distinct national entity amid a vast and highly diverse neighborhood.
It is not enough for China and Russia to work to reduce US dominance in “the grand Eurasian chessboard.” They have to work on a new continental order that other countries, not just the two of them, would find an improvement over the current situation.
Carnegie Moscow Center hosted an open discussion on major power relationships in the Asia-Pacific region with John McCarthy, former Australian ambassador to Vietnam, Indonesia, Japan, and India.
The window of opportunity for improving Russo-Japanese relations is still open, at least for now. Russia’s main objectives are to attract Japanese investment into its national economic development programs and to continue to diversify its policies in the Asia-Pacific and on the international stage, where Japan plays an important and increasingly independent role.
Sino-Russian relations do not constitute a new axis of like-minded authoritarian regimes that want to challenge the West by default. But it’s an example of how tactical and opportunistic cooperation of non-Western powers seeking to boost their influence on the international stage comes at expense of the Western-led international order.
The more realistic option would be increased information sharing between Moscow and Beijing on THAAD and the US military presence in Northeast Asia, as well as joint exercises like the one held in May 2016.