Russia in the Indo-Pacific

The following is a translation of an introduction by Radio Taiwan International’s (RTI) Mandarin program “Serving the People” (為人民服務), discussing Russia’s role in the region loosely defined as the “Indo-Pacific”.

russian_built_gepard_3_9_frigate_quang_trung

Russian-built Gepard 3.9 frigate Quang Trung,
public domain

Lu Ssu-pin (魯斯濱), a columnist on Russian military affairs, discusses Russia’s involvement in the Indo-Pacific, and especially its ties with ASEAN, in “Serving the People’s” December 23 edition. The discussion can be listened to there (button top right).

No great secrets are revealed there, but while Russia’s business in the region doesn’t go unreported by Western media, it may often be underestimated. This includes areas of conflict with China.

Ssu also touches on the revival of the Russian language in Vietnamese lesson plans. The numbers don’t look overwhelming, but according to Ssu, Russian technology (such as military technology or its Global Navigation Satellite System) can be rather well absorbed by ASEAN countries, and is affordable, while a lot of Western technology isn’t.

Main link:
Russia also gets involved in Indo-Pacific, Russia and China singing different tunes (俄羅斯也插手印太 俄中各唱各的調)

The statement issued on December 12 after the G7 foreign ministers’ meeting in Liverpool emphasized that the G7 member states wanted to establish an investment and trade circle democracies so as to respond to China’s coercive economic policies more unitedly. Russia was also warned not to rashly use force against Ukraine as [Moscow] would face serious economic costs. U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken travelled right on for visits to Southeast Asia, with the clear intention to draw in allies to crowd around China.

12月12日在英國利物浦落幕的G7外長會議發表聲明,強調G7成員國要在民主國家間建立投資圈經貿圈,以便團結應對中國的脅迫性經濟政策,而且還警告俄羅斯不要輕易對烏克蘭動武,否則將面對沉重經濟代價。美國國務卿布林肯在會後更直奔東南亞訪問,拉近盟友圍攏中國的意圖非常明顯。

This G7 foreign ministers’ meeting’s main emphasis appears to be on building a united front in response to China and Russia. However, if the Chinese friendship with Russia is what it appears to be is a different story. Concerning the South China Sea, for example, Russia’s approach is rather indistinct. It does, by no means, support China as imagined by the outside world when it comes to the South China Sea.

這次G7外長會議,統一陣線應對中國與俄國,顯然是最大重點。不過,中國與俄羅斯之間是否如表面的友好,又是另當別論。比方在南海,俄羅斯的態度就非常模糊,並不像外界所想像的那樣在南海事務上支持中國。

A confrontation erupted in waters disputed between China and Indonesia not long ago. Beijing accused Indonesia of building exploratory wellheads in oil and gas fields delimited by China. A Russian state-owned energy giant happens to be this oil and gas field’s owner1. Before that, Russia also helped Vietnam with oil and gas extraction work, among them some fields also delimited by China in accordance with its so-called nine-dash line2. This lead to Chinese dissatisfaction.

中國與印尼不久前在南海有爭議水域爆發爭執對峙。北京指責印尼在中國所劃定的海疆線內為一處油氣田區塊開鑿探井。俄羅斯國有能源巨頭恰好是這塊油氣田的所有人。而在印尼之前,俄羅斯也幫越南從事油氣開採,其中的一些油氣田區塊因為同樣位於中國所劃定的所謂「九段線」內而導致中國不滿。

All the same, Russia’s cooperation with Indonesia and Vietnam has continued.

儘管中國不滿,俄國與印尼和越南的能源合作一直在進行中 。

Also, early in December, ASEAN carried out the first joint maritime exercise with Russia. In the southeast Asian region As relations between the southeast Asian region and China continue to intensify, the question against who these may be directed is also up to the outside world’s imagination.

另外,12月初, 東南亞國家協會(ASEAN)也跟俄羅斯舉行了第一次聯合海上軍事演習。在東南亞地區和中國的緊張關係不斷升溫的同時,聯合軍演到底針對誰,也令外界有無限想像空間。

We have asked Lu Ssu-pin to discuss his observations with us.

今天節目我們請魯斯濱談談他的觀察。

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Notes

1     Zarubezhneft, according to reports
2     Wikipedia, accessed Dec 24

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Related

America, Japan: a more equal Relationship, May 22, 2016
Gas Deal, but no Military Alliance, May 23, 2014
“Like Polar Bears, no bit of humanity”, July 22, 2012
Indonesia-Russia Relations, Wikipedia
Russia-Vietnam Relations, Wikipedia
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