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ATPF-2013 in the dialogues of the APR countries

Vladivostok - the northern capital of the ATP?

ATPF-2013 in the dialogues of the APR countries

From 27 to 31 on January 2013, the 21 session of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF) was held on Russian Island in Vladivostok, which was successfully held under the auspices of the Federation Council. Delegates discussed a wide range of issues, demonstrating both common goals and interests, as well as differences in approaches to solving problems affecting the countries of the Asia-Pacific region (APR).

The choice of the venue for the next annual session of the APPF is not accidental: 9 on 12 January 2012 in Tokyo hosted the 20 jubilee session of the APPF, in which the delegation of the Federation Council headed by the chairman of the upper house of the Russian parliament V.I. Matvienko took part. At the 20 session of the APPF, in particular, a new Tokyo Declaration and a new version of the forum's rules were adopted, which replaced the documents adopted at the 1 th constituent session of the APPF in 1993 in Tokyo. In addition, the participants unanimously voted in favor of the proposal made by the Russian side to hold the next session of the APPF in Vladivostok in 2013, which meant the transition to Russia from May 2012 the year of chairmanship in this organization.

“Holding the 21st session of the APPF in Vladivostok will allow us to jointly provide legislative parliamentary support for important decisions that will be made at the APEC summit. It will also take place this year in Vladivostok, ”said the then Chairman of the Federation Council V. I. Matvienko. In her opinion, such a decision “contributes to the transformation of Vladivostok into a center of political, humanitarian, financial and economic contacts between Russia and the states of the Asia-Pacific region. The emergence of such a center, located in the northernmost zone of the APR, meets the interests of the APR as a whole. "

13 June 2012 of the Federation Council hosted the transfer ceremony from Japan, which was represented by Japanese Ambassador to Russia Tikahito Harada, to Russia, which was represented by Federation Council Chairman V.I. Matvienko, the flag of the APPF, which is a symbol of the country's presidency at the forum. The ceremony completed the transfer of the functions of the chairman of the forum of the Russian Federation.

From 2 on 9 September 2012 year in Vladivostok on the Russian island was 24-th annual meeting of leaders of economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). This is the first APEC summit that was held in Russia. The Ministers of APEC economies 6 September adopted a joint statement stressing the need to promote the growth and prosperity of the APR against the backdrop of the continuing global economic uncertainty, and on 9 September, the leaders of the APEC economies, at the conclusion of their jubilee, 20 meeting, adopted a declaration outlining ways to strengthen Well-being of the APR and strengthening its leadership in the world economy.

The 21 session of the APPF was held on the basis of the Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU), which is based on the facilities and infrastructure created for the APEC summit in Vladivostok, which further emphasizes the relationship of large organizations such as APEC, focused on solving economic problems, and APPF, Called to solve legislative issues.

Thus, the Russian side placed great hopes on the 21 session of the APPF, including in the context of the legislative formulation of decisions taken at the APEC summit in Vladivostok, as well as attracting the interest of foreign parliamentarians from the APR countries to the Far East of Russia and opportunities training of foreign students in FEFU, which was the focus of the work of the forum organizers.

Has Russia achieved its objectives? On a number of positions - undoubtedly, however, judging by some issues that were discussed at the 21 session of the APPF, there were differences not only in the approaches to solving a number of problems between different APR countries, but also between Russia and other APR countries. The latter, however, does not contribute to Russia effectively positioning itself as a promising country for cooperation, which can organically enter the system of economic relations in the APR - the most rapidly developing region of the world. Note that the importance of the APR countries for Russia is due not only to the geopolitical, but also to the trade and economic component: their share in Russia's foreign trade is approximately 25%, while 86% of trade turnover falls on the PRC, the United States, Japan and the Republic of Korea. And for the Russian Far East, the development of relations with the countries of the Asia-Pacific region is vital.

From dialogue to consensus

More than 21 representatives of legislative bodies from 350 countries arrived to Vladivostok for the 28-th session of the ATPF, 130 speakers from 27 countries took part in the sessions of the session. Representatives of international organizations: the UN, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Parliamentary Assemblies of the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, the CIS Interparliamentary Assemblies and the EurAsEC attended the session for the first time in the practice of the APPF. As observers, Afghanistan and Kazakhstan were present.

For three days - from 28 to 30 in January - three clusters of issues were considered at the plenary sessions: “Political and Security Issues”, “Economy and Trade Issues” and “Regional Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region”, which covered such topics as peace and security in the APR, parliamentary diplomacy, development of the transport structure, strengthening food security, dialogue of civilizations, problems of poverty eradication, energy security and energy efficiency, cooperation in eliminating the consequences of natural disasters, etc.

In addition to the plenary sessions, the Russian delegation held 32 bilateral meetings with heads of delegations of all participating countries and international organizations. Within the framework of one of the meetings 28 January, the Chairman of the Chinese delegation, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China Wu Bangguo, was awarded the Order of Friendship for the contribution to the development of Russian-Chinese cooperation on behalf of the President of Russia V.Putin, Chairman of the Federation Council V.I. Matvienko , Deepening of trust and mutual understanding between the two countries and peoples. This once again underscores the importance that Russia attaches to the development of Russian-Chinese relations. At the same time, there is a clear need to involve other countries of the Asia-Pacific region in the Far Eastern regions of Russia, in order to avoid a dangerous distortion in the regional dominance of the trade, economic and, in the future, in the political sphere, only one foreign country. Creating a full-fledged competitive environment in the Russian Far East with an attractive investment climate is a prerequisite for the successful development of the region.

As a result of the work, 14 resolutions were adopted, based on 10 draft resolutions prepared by 10 countries, as well as a final communiqué. The consensus on resolutions was achieved through the formation of 38 expert working groups. In the final communiqué, in particular, it was fixed that the next, the 12 session of the ATPF will be held from 22 on 12 January 16 in Mexico.

Among the resolutions, attention is drawn to Resolution No. 5, which is devoted to the situation on the Korean peninsula, due to the actions of the DPRK. Chairman of the Editorial Committee of the 21 session of the APPF, deputy chairman of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs, AA Klimov, noted that the UN Security Council resolutions were taken as a basis for the preparation of this document. "We are all concerned about the experiments of this country with nuclear power, at the same time there have been attempts of some countries to teach North Korea how to live and what political system to have. As a result, we managed to reach a balance, "he said. At the same time, with regard to North Korea, Japan proposed another draft resolution condemning the actions of the North Korean special services who abducted Japanese citizens and took them to this country, which was not approved. Note that since all decisions on the ATPF are taken collectively, Resolution No. 5, directed against the DPRK, was born only because North Korea is not a member of the APPF.

According to AA Klimov, not all the proposals of parliamentary delegations were included in the final documents of the session, but with the necessary preparatory work, he believes, these proposals can be adopted at the next, 22 session of the APPF in Mexico.

Activities within the framework of the APPF

As part of the 21 session of the APPF 30, January, there were events that became Russian innovations: a round table on the topic “Asia-Pacific: New Horizons of Cooperation” with the participation of members of delegations, observers and representatives of international organizations, as well as a meeting of young parliamentarians of the Asia-Pacific countries. The decisions adopted at the round table and at the youth meeting were included in the final documents of the 21 session of the APPF.

According to the results of the round table “Asia-Pacific - Europe: New Horizons of Cooperation”, a final statement was adopted, in which its participants indicated that they:

• support the efforts of governments to develop cooperation between states both within the Asia-Pacific region and between the countries of the Asia-Pacific region and Europe, to eliminate unnecessary, often archaic barriers that hinder it;

• Call for the expansion of the Asia-Europe dialogue at various levels: interstate, interregional, interpersonal;

• note the special role of the Russian Federation in the dialogue of civilizations as a country with a unique geographical location, which has the unique opportunity to act as an economic and transport bridge between Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, as well as experience in inter-religious and inter-ethnic cooperation;

• Call for intensification and intensification of the exchange of legislative experience between the parliaments of the APR countries and Europe;

• take the initiative to introduce into the ATPF permanent practice the holding of round tables at the annual sessions of the forum with the participation of representatives of international parliamentary organizations;

• believe that the time has come to work out the question of convening a world forum of parliamentary organizations.

In the opinion of the Chairman of the Federation Council V. Matvienko, the topic of cooperation between Europe and Asia will intensify, since Russia's significance is growing not only because of its geographical position (Russia is a kind of "bridge" between Europe and Asia), but also because of those opportunities , which Russia can provide as a Eurasian country. And Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council I.M.-S. Umakhanov noted that during the discussions the issue of rapprochement of European countries with the APR on the platform of the Eurasian Union was mentioned, mentioning that for the first time in the ATPF session the delegation of Kazakhstan participated as an observer.

The participants of the meeting of young parliamentarians adopted a joint appeal to the parliamentarians of the APR countries with an appeal to support their initiative to hold youth sections on a regular basis within the annual sessions of the APPF under the motto "Uniting efforts for the sake of the future". It also proposes the creation of an Internet portal for communication between young parliamentarians and youth leaders of the APR countries, exchange of information and best legislative practices in the field of youth policy.

Also, as part of the 21 session of the APPF, a presentation was held on the development programs for the regions of Siberia and the Far East. Russian and foreign guests were able to talk with experts, scientists, representatives of the business community, as well as get acquainted with the exhibition stands presented by the Sakha Republic (Yakutia), the Khabarovsk Territory, the Jewish Autonomous Region, the Amur Region, the Primorsky Territory, the Magadan Region, the Kamchatka Territory, the Republic of Buryatia , Trans-Baikal Territory, as well as OJSC “Fund for the Development of the Far East and the Baikal Region”. In particular, in his speech, Minister for the Development of the Far East V.I. Ishayev spoke about the development of a state program for the socioeconomic development of the Far East and the Baikal region up to 2025. He noted that this program provides for a departure from the country's raw material model of development. “With the support of the legislative bodies of the Russian Federation and with the active assistance of our partners from the APR countries, in the near future the Far East will shift from a catching-up development strategy to a leading model,” said V.I. Ishayev.

Dissonances against consensus

The speeches of the delegates at the 21 session of the APPF demonstrated both similar positions on current issues of the day and differences in approaches. Of greatest interest are the differences between Russia, which was in fact the moderator of the session, and other APR countries. We mention only some of them.

Unlike the Russian delegation, a number of representatives of the APR countries in one form or another indicated the security threat caused by the aggravation of territorial disputes existing between the countries of the region. In particular, a very sharp speech was made by the representative of the delegation of the Philippines, who accused the PRC of violating their territorial sovereignty by invading the exclusive economic zone of the country. This refers to the illegal, according to the Philippine side, fishing by Chinese ships in the waters of the island of Huangyang, which the PRC considers its territory, and the Philippines its own, referring to it as the coral reef of Scarborough. In recent years, disputes over the Senkaku Islands under Japan and Dokdo under the control of the Republic of Korea have intensified. It is impossible to dismiss the Russian-Japanese dispute over the southern Kurile Islands, which is aimed at preparing the upcoming visit to Moscow of the new Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. However, the Russian delegates in their speeches did not specify this problem, which is topical for the region.

The position of the Federation Council on this issue was clarified on January 28 at its press conference by the Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council I. M.-S. Umakhanov. In his opinion, territorial disputes due to high intensity of discussions should not be the subject of public debate. He recalled that decisions in the APPF are taken collectively. But if the disputing parties can come to a common denominator, the rest of the countries will support such decisions. Later, the Chairman of the Federation Council, V.I. Matvienko, answering a journalist’s question regarding territorial disputes, said: "The APPF is an open platform for discussing any problems." She noted that the disputed territorial issues must be resolved through diplomatic means, and pointed to the possibility of accepting the agreements reached by the disputing parties as part of the APPF. Thus, the Russian side has adjusted its position on the question of whether the APPF is a place for discussion on territorial issues.

During the discussion at the plenary session of the transport theme, the Russian participants did not sound a separate speech on the Russian transport system, although in others the Trans-Siberian, BAM, and the promising Northern Sea Route were mentioned. In particular, the Chairman of the Federation Council V.I. Matvienko spoke about a number of major Russian projects for the development of transport infrastructure, including a major upgrade of the Trans-Siberian Railway, BAM, Russian Pacific ports, the Northern Sea Route, aviation and road transport. She also noted that these projects are open to foreign investment by both Asian and European partners. At the same time, Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council S. Yu. Orlova informed foreign colleagues that these infrastructure projects will be financed from the resources of the Pension Fund of Russia. Separately, the theme of the Northern Sea Route 30 January was raised by Japanese parliamentarian Yoshihiko Isozaki, considering this issue in the context of the transport corridor between Asia and Europe. He noted the importance of creating a reliable trade route along the Arctic Ocean with the appropriate infrastructure, and also outlined the problem of environmental protection in the Arctic region. Obviously, the Northern Sea Route requires special attention from Russia, but there was no explanation how this project will be implemented. Thus, the Russian side did not submit its proposals on the development of its own transport infrastructure to the APPF member countries, as it did not specify, at the expense of what sources - external or internal - these projects will be implemented.

The exchange of views on the topic of energy security also revealed a different understanding in Russia and other countries of the APR of the trends in the development of world energy. On the one hand, representatives of the APR countries pointed out that global warming leads to an increase in natural disasters in the Asia-Pacific region, and because of the melting of snow, the level of the World Ocean rises, leading to the flooding of island territories, therefore, measures are needed to develop green energy, not Which provides for the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. On the other hand, Russian speakers did not mention either the problem of climate change or the need to develop alternative energy sources. The Russian side made a traditional set of proposals for the sale of hydrocarbon fuel produced in Russia - oil and gas. And Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council V. Shtyrov even voiced threats from the use of alternative energy: the use of solar panels leads to a violation of the thermal balance of the Earth, and wind installations are sources of murderous ultrasound.

Such delicate cultural differences between Russia and a number of APR countries also appeared. As part of the 21 session of the APPF, concerts were held, which were enthusiastically received by foreign guests, and tours of Vladivostok were organized for them. The Moscow State Academic Dance Theater Gzhel, the State Academic Honored Dance Ensemble of Dagestan Lezginka, the Song and Dance Ensemble of the Pacific Fleet of Russia and other creative groups made a great impression on all spectators. However, foreign parliamentarians and experts included in the delegations also could not but pay attention to some of the statements of Russian parliamentarians reflecting the processes taking place in the domestic "political kitchen". Thus, the Deputy Chairman of the Council of the Federation, S. Yu. Orlova, said about the constructed facilities for the APEC summit in Vladivostok: “The Soviet Union could not do this, but Putin Vladimir Vladimirovich could”. Asian countries are extremely sensitive to their history, and its representatives at international platforms do not allow themselves to talk about it in a derogatory tone, besides the development of democracy in the APR countries has left in the past different personality cults. The Russian representative, on the other hand, demonstrated that it is possible to elevate an individual over a great country, while at the same time claiming to “potential investors” that in Russia everything is decided by one person.

At the same time, the overwhelming number of goods in the Far East is not made in Russia, and even on the souvenirs that glorify the hero city of Vladivostok, the inscription "Made in China" flaunts. Probably, Russian parliamentarians should not only be proud of their achievements, but also ask themselves: why is the brand "Made in Russia" not popular not only outside of Russia but also in the Far East of the country; Why the prices for food and goods are higher here than in neighboring China, where the Russians are going to buy; Why in the region so high prices for housing and communal services and outflow of population is fixed?

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The beginning of the 21st century demonstrates the development of democratic institutions and, therefore, the strengthening of the role of national parliaments in making decisions that are most important for states and the world community. Being representatives of nations, parliamentarians elected in their countries by direct vote, de jure and de facto, have the authority to express the will of their citizens on a wide range of issues in the field of politics, economics, social and public spheres. The success of the APPF depends on the extent to which the decisions taken by the delegates of the APR countries at the sessions of the APPF will meet both the national interests of their countries and the interests of global security aimed at reducing tension in the region due to various interstate disputes and unresolved conflicts. And in order for the role of Russia in these processes to form a balanced world for the sake of sustainable development, the authorities need additional efforts to promote the country's interests in the APPF, taking into account the specifics of the APR countries.

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