The Russia – ASEAN Summit takes place in the Russian city of Sochi on May 19-20 (Photo: sputniknews.com)
The summit is also an opportunity to outline cooperation orientations to
bring their relations on par with potential and interests.
The geo-political, economic, cultural and military features of the ASEAN
Community, set up on December 31, 2015, as well as of each of its 10
member nations have helped promote the stature of the bloc in the
ASEAN, boasting a combined population of about 630 million, GDP of some
2.57 trillion USD and stable economic growth, has been recognised as an
important factor in the dynamic development of the region. Russia has
affirmed several times that cooperation with ASEAN will help the country
increase its standing in Asia – Pacific.
Russia holds a critical role in solving global security issues. With its
geographical location and traditional relationships, Russia has
specially strategic interests in Asia – Pacific and Southeast Asia.
Russia’s intensification of connections with the ASEAN Community and its
more active role in regional mechanisms such as the East Asia Summit,
the ASEAN Regional Forum and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus
will help increase its contributions to peace, security and stability in
ASEAN and the Asian – Pacific region.
In the last five years, trade turnover between Russia and the ASEAN
nations doubled and hit a record 21.5 billion USD in 2014. Russia mainly
exports fuel and energy, advanced machinery, military equipment and
chemical products, which the ASEAN nations have high demand for. The
bloc’s members are rich in agricultural and manufactured commodities,
which Russia needs.
However, bilateral cooperation is yet to live up to its potential in
comparison with ASEAN’s relations with other dialogue partners like
China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, India and Australia.
Amidst numerous developments around the world, both Russia and ASEAN
face considerable traditional and non-traditional challenges and threats
at global, regional and national levels.
While the threats of terrorism and extremism are rising, environmental
pollution and climate change are looming in every country. Disagreements
and tensions regarding territorial disputes and the ambitions of some
countries in Asia – Pacific, especially in the East Sea, threaten
regional stability and security.
Isolation as a result of sanctions imposed by western nations and the
oil price nosedive have negatively impacted Russia’s economy. Meanwhile,
differences and development gaps among the ASEAN countries are
hampering the bloc’s development.
In the face of this, Russia and ASEAN are moving closer together. Russia
considers strong cooperation with ASEAN key to promoting its standing
in Asia – Pacific. ASEAN leaders have expressed their willingness to
tighten links with Russia.
That is a reason for Russia to choose “Towards Strategic Partnership for
the Sake of the Common Good” for the Russia – ASEAN Summit.
While fostering ties with ASEAN, Russia has regarded Vietnam as an
important and effective gateway to help Moscow integrate into Southeast
Asia, given the two countries time-honoured relationship and mutual
Russia hopes that the unceasing advance of the Vietnam – Russia
comprehensive strategic partnership will be a role model for it to
reinforce ties with other ASEAN nations.
The Russia – ASEAN Summit is believed to create a foundation for both
sides to upgrade their dialogue partnership to the strategic level. They
are looking towards a closer and more effective, dynamic relationship
which will help ensure peace, stability, development and prosperity in