Asia-Pacific and China

Authored by: Natasha Kuhrt

Routledge Handbook of Russian Foreign Policy

Print publication date:  March  2018
Online publication date:  March  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138690448
eBook ISBN: 9781315536934
Adobe ISBN:


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Since the mid-1990s, Russia’s Asia policy has been predominantly a China policy. The Ukraine crisis has helped to re-emphasise the importance of Russia’s ‘Asia vector’, and there have been attempts to diversify away from China at both the discursive and practical levels. Yet questions remain regarding the sagacity of a largely Sinocentric policy, when normative convergence between Moscow and Beijing fails to mask the growing economic divergence between them. The Russian approach to China is thus widely seen as a new, more accommodating one: the impact of sanctions and a falling oil price have forced Russia to yield economic positions to China. Furthermore, domestic goals such as the development of the Russian Far East, which was highlighted as a priority area in the context of Russia’s Asia policy, are not being met by the emphasis on China. The relationship can be characterised as more than an ‘axis of convenience’, but falling short of a full-blown alliance.

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