Country Reports

Coverage of Russia in East Asia concentrated on the Belt and Road Initiative forum in mid-May with some attention given to the Korean Peninsula, as a new president was elected in South Korea. The first theme focused on mounting disappointment with Sino-Russian relations, as their visions of regional architecture diverged. Moreover, Putin’s place of honor at the forum proved to be no substitute for substantive results. The second theme held some promise for Russia’s peninsular strategy. Japan was being ignored or, worse yet, dismissed as of little political or economic use. India was being widely cited for its resistance to China. Yet, Putin’s “Great Eurasia” vision still centered on China and counted on the Eurasian Economic Union as well as ASEAN and the SCO, despite meager signs that this had a chance in the face of Xi Jinping’s Sinocentric designs, in which Russia occupied a marginal place. The “turn to the East” appeared to be at an impasse, but few acknowledged that this would be a problem for Russia.

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