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Saturday, December 10, 2016

At the ASEAN summit Putin was when Medvedev called “a Bear”


The leaders of the ten countries of Southeast Asia have gathered in Sochi for the summit “Russia-ASEAN”. On the occasion of the anniversary – cooperation with this organization marks 20 years – controversial topics, at least publicly decided not to raise. Even at the meeting with the Malaysia Prime Minister Vladimir Putin spoke about the number of doctors in Russian education in local hospitals, rather than on the investigation of the crash “Boeing” in the sky over the Donbas.

There’s bad news for opponents of palm oil: it supplies to Russia are not going to limit.

With the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand prayuth Chan-Ochoa. Photo: russia-asean20.ru

Vladimir Putin, of course, didn’t want to be compared with Barack Obama. But such associations from many visitors of the summit have obviously been inevitable. Exactly three months ago they were in the same part of flew at a similar meeting in the United States.

Obama, like Putin, took them to a resort in California, and it was also the first ASEAN summit on us soil. And even the words on both sides of the ocean sounded about the same: Russia and the United States in unison, said plans to withdraw its relations with the countries of South-East Asia on the level of strategic partnership…

However, this external appearance, the similarity of the two summits begin and end significant differences. We must honestly admit that for South-East Asia, while Russia is a minor player. The turnover of mutual trade between the us and all ASEAN countries combined is around $20 billion And the US it is 10 times more – about $200 billion.

The Kremlin several years aggressively sought to participate in the East Asia summit, to be able to discuss security issues in the region, but having received a permit concurrently with the United States, immediately lost interest in him.

From 2011 to 2013 Russia at the summit was represented by foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in 2014-2015, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Meanwhile, Barack Obama personally visited four of the East Asia summit. Not to mention the fact that the White house actively promotes a new format of cooperation in the region – the TRANS-Pacific partnership, which has already been joined by four ASEAN countries.

The current reversal of Moscow to the East, although it has certain economic reasons, primarily caused by the cooling of relations with the West. This happens not for the first time, and most experts believe that as soon as relations with Europe and the USA will recover, the Russian authorities, and the business elite, will once again turn to Asia, if not back, then at least a semi-profile.

“Fly away, rules of the game are unclear, many administrative obstacles and nuances”, – complained on the sidelines of the summit Russian entrepreneurs. The Business Council “Russia -ASEAN” also do not hide the announced projects a lot, and realized a cat laugh. Yes, and how to develop cooperation, if we are on the Pacific coast there is no necessary logistics and port infrastructure.

– Talking about the strategic pivot to East, from my point of view, it is wrong, – has placed points over “i” Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, As a Eurasian power, Russia cannot be turned in one direction only. We have never been proponents of marginalizing relations with other countries and regret that it happened. But today and tomorrow, the main priority is ASEAN.

A region with such potential, of course, is of interest for the Russian Federation, confirmed by the representative of the Kremlin.

Since ASEAN consists of ten countries, meeting with their representatives at Vladimir Putin went a solid course. The representatives of the service Protocol confused in complex names, reading by syllables: prayuth Chan-OCHA, Najib Tun Abdul Razak, Hassaan Bolkiah … But the visitors had other problems. The representative of Thailand, Recalling his meeting with Russian Prime Minister, held yesterday in St. Petersburg, said:

– We are grateful to His Excellency Mr. Medvedev for providing a very warm welcome. We intend to develop and promote our relationship, which next year celebrates 120 years.

Putin laughed. Surely the name exactly all the bounces from the teeth.

Some members have lost in the sidelines of the summit, and the President had to wait patiently and to reassure concerned about the lack of true Ministerial colleagues:

– Not allowed? Well, you, this we simply cannot be.

Almost all the guests thanked Russia for the special role it once played in the fate of their countries. But serious topics in the public section of the meetings did not raise.

Only the Prime Minister of Indonesia, combining participation in the ASEAN summit with a state visit, decided to stick up for palm oil demand and increase supply. He, apparently, didn’t know that tropical saturated fats, the product is almost a second enemy of the Russians after ISIS. The Minister of economic development Alexei Ulyukayev said that Indonesian reassured that the Russian authorities do not intend to impose restrictions on the export of palm oil from ASEAN countries. This is a business issue, not a policy.

Brunei, Vietnam and the Philippines, surely, complained to Putin (before Barack Obama) on the behavior of China in the South China sea. But, unlike USA, Russia is unlikely to put pressure on its Eastern neighbor – next month with Vladimir Putin’s scheduled visit to China: a complication of relations because of the capture of some distant Islands obviously not included in the plans of the Kremlin.

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