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From West to East ...

The Deputy Director of the Institute, Doctor of Political Sciences, the famous expert on foreign policy of the countries of Europe and the Asia-Pacific region (FNR), Fedor Voitolovsky, told the ER correspondent about the opening of the representative office of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences in FEFU.

On February 17, Fyodor Voitolovsky arrived in Vladivostok on a founding visit. Within the walls of FEFU, a foreign policy expert gave two lectures, held one round table, told the ER correspondent about the mission of the new department and shared his opinion on the prospects for Russia's relations with two other major powers in the region - the United States and China.

From West to East ...
- Fyodor Genrikhovich, in your prelude to the first lecture in Vladivostok, you said that FEFU will become a kind of outpost of IMEMO in the Far East?

- Quite right. The department of IMEMO, which will start working here from the beginning of the next academic year in the structure of the School of Economics and Management of the FEFU, will consist of both our invited specialists (they will come here periodically) and specialized professors of the FEFU - historians, economists, orientalists, political scientists, etc. .d. Moreover, we expect to involve in research work both professors and associate professors, as well as young scientists, graduate students, senior students who are preparing themselves for a scientific career.

In other words, our goal is to study geopolitical processes and tendencies in the APR countries with the help of theoretical schools and the IMEMO methodology, developed over half a century (the richest practice of system-historical analysis, for example), but with the active involvement of Far Eastern specialists who live here, often more they objectively see certain aspects of regional reality. Moreover, in the FEFU in the field of the humanities, as I have already seen, many bright minds work and study.

In general, we expect a powerful synergistic effect from the joint work of professionals from IMEMO and FEFU. The fruit of these efforts will be analytical reports, reviews, forecasts, recommendations in the end - for both regional and federal authorities on the development of strategic decisions in the Pacific.

- The round table under your chairmanship was titled: “Relations in the Russia-China-USA triangle in the APR. Uncertainty factor ". Can this triangle be likened to a love triangle and what is the uncertainty?

- In politics, it is more appropriate to talk about periodically changing interests than about constant love. The very formula of the Russia-China-USA triangle belongs to the famous political adviser to the American presidents - Henry Kissinger. He was the first American expert to place the People's Republic of China (PRC) on a par with two superpowers - the USSR and the USA.

In the Kissinger triangle, it was assumed that the United States should build relations with the Soviet Union and China in such a way that the connection between the USSR and the PRC was deliberately worse than either of them with America. Today, especially in light of the Ukrainian crisis and a sharp deterioration in relations between Russia and the West, one can admit that the triangle has turned upside down: China has found itself in the position in which the United States sought to be - it has relations with the other two countries, separately, much better than those of the United States and Russia. between themselves. But how long this state of affairs will last is not entirely clear.

Although it can be assumed that the future of US-Chinese relations will largely depend on how the military potential of the PRC will develop. China is becoming an increasingly important unit in the global military balance. And this, on the one hand, cannot but concern Washington, and on the other hand, it plays into the hands of the military party in the American establishment: it is possible to justify the increase in US military spending and orient it towards containing Chinese forces in the APR.

Other components of the uncertainty factor can be expressed in a whole range of questions. All of them relate to the relationship between the three largest powers in the region in the next 10-15 years. And there is no definite answer to any of these questions. For example, how deep and lasting will the cooperation between Russia and China be in the economic and political spheres (a question of great concern to the United States)? Will Russia and China become military allies, for example? What will be the level of competition between Russia and the United States in the geopolitical space of Pacific Asia? Will it be reduced to light disagreements, or will it rise to the heights of tough confrontation (a new cold war) on all fronts? To what extent will China expand its influence over the region, primarily the countries of Southeast Asia? How will the problems of nuclear safety in the region be resolved? How, for example, will the countries of the region react to the subsequent nuclear weapons tests by the ruling regime of North Korea? In what direction will the Chinese economy and the Chinese political system evolve? How intensively will the Chinese military-industrial complex develop? How successfully will Russia be able to integrate its Far East into the economies of the Asia-Pacific region? How will China's territorial disputes with other states of the region in the South China and East China Seas be resolved? Will the level of confrontation between the countries participating in the conflicts increase? How much will the United States be involved in these disputes?

The lack of answers to these questions brings a certain discomfort to relations both inside and outside the US-Russia-China contour. Of course, the elites and expert communities of all the countries of Pacific Asia are involved in the process of finding answers to the challenges of the near future. Among them, from the Russian side, and our Institute.

- Does the desire of the United States to dominate the Asia-Pacific region put an end to all Russia's attempts to build economic cooperation with China and other countries of the region for its own benefit? It is no secret, for example, that for some reason the Russian-Korean project for the modernization of the Transsib from 2012 was buried. The passage through Russia of the transcontinental Chinese "New Silk Road" is still in question ...

- I would not emphasize the excessive wickedness of the United States in these matters. Americans are pragmatists. And in any cooperation of their potential and current partners with third countries, they are looking for benefits for themselves. From these positions, they may be interested in both the modernization of the Transsib and the passage of the "New Silk Road" through Russia. Why not, if this will significantly optimize transport costs, including for American companies?

Of course, the American establishment understands that the long-term prospect for China, the continental power, is to minimize its dependence on sea corridors controlled by the American Navy. Washington also understands well that China wants to gain access to the resources of Central Asia by creating a powerful logistics infrastructure on its territory. Some of the representatives of the American political elite are concerned about this, but many representatives of the business elite tend to find, on the contrary, a lot of business benefits for themselves in such a development of events.

On the other hand, the US generally lacks the resources to thwart the fruitful efforts of Russia and China to cooperate. Yes, Washington can exert some pressure on South Korea, hindering the development of its economic relations with Russia. But here we should not forget about other objective factors that hinder the disclosure of our transit potential. For example, China itself is not particularly interested in the development of logistic ties between Russia and North Korea.

- The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is being created under the auspices of the United States, does not include Russia and China, does it jeopardize the effectiveness of Russia's attempts to integrate our Far East into the economic space of the Asia-Pacific region with the help of the same advanced development territories and the free port of Vladivostok?

“I don’t think so. With the help of the TPP, the United States, as it were, formally consolidates its already existing de facto status of a global player capable of setting the international practice of goods movement. But the presence of the TPP does not prevent China or Russia from attracting investors to their territory by creating favorable tax and customs regimes. Moreover, we are talking not only about foreign, but also domestic investors. In addition, in addition to the TPP, there are a number of long before this established international regional economic associations of countries - such as ASEAN or APEC - within which it is possible to cooperate with different states of the region to implement various mutually beneficial projects.

In general, the implementation of the initiative of the Trans-Pacific Partnership as a free trade zone without China is a key moment in the development of modern US-Chinese relations. This is an extremely interesting political phenomenon that is taking both countries to a completely new level of relations. He will determine the policy of the next US administration.

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Fyodor Voitolovsky is a graduate of the Faculty of History, Moscow State University named after M.V. Lomonosov in 2001. In 2004 he defended his Ph.D. thesis on the topic: “Reflection of the processes of political globalization in the minds of political elites and social movements in the US and EU. In 2013 - a doctoral dissertation on the topic: "The ideology and practice of Atlanticism in US foreign policy." Research interests: US foreign and security policy; NATO; relations with the US allies; US policy in Pacific Asia; international organizations; global governance; forecasting international political processes. Author of over 55 publications. Laureate of the RAS Medal for Young Scientists for 2008 for the monograph "The Unity and Disunity of the West."
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