Russia and South Korea: the economic and geopolitical rationale for a natural gas pipeline

Written by Alex Calvo. There was a time when South Korea thought that joint projects (including Kaesong industrial park and Mount Kumgang tourist area) and, more widely, economic cooperation could bring about two key policy objectives: narrowing the gap in standards of living between the North and the South (much larger than that between the …

The Kuril Islands dispute in 2014: (Yet) another setback

Written by Miha Hribernik. Russo-Japanese relations have grown closer over the past two years, before the Ukrainian crisis began to strain Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s carefully-crafted Russia policy. By summer 2014, Abe’s delicate balancing act – manoeuvring Japan between the interests of its Western partners and those of energy-rich Russia – came close to collapse …

‘Takeshima’ and ‘Northern Territories’ in Japan’s Nationalism

Written by Alexander Bukh. In 2005, Japan’s Shimane Prefecture adopted the ‘Takeshima Day’ ordinance that designated the 22nd of February, the day Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo in Korean, Takeshima in Japanese) were incorporated into Japan in 1905, as a prefectural memorial day. The passage of the ordinance, the Korean reaction and the wide domestic coverage propelled …

Marriage of convenience: China and Russia’s gas deal

Written by Karolina Wysoczanska. Last month’s China-Russia gas deal attracted considerable attention not only because of its scale but because of its global significance. Indeed, it is probably a once-in-lifetime opportunity to witness a mega-deal like this, as only China and the United States have the demand and financial muscle to make this kind of purchase …

Japan’s relations with Russia in the Midst of the Ukraine Crisis

Written by Misato Matsuoka. While Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has not met the leaders of neighbouring South Korea or China, he has dedicated significant effort to improving ties with Russia. Since returning to power in 2012, Abe has met President Putin five times and participated in the opening ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics …

Who lost Ukraine?

Written by Neil Munro. In a televised interview with Russian journalists this week, Vladimir Putin made the claim that a “revolutionary situation” had existed in Ukraine since 1991. The ordinary Ukrainian had seen little benefit from the Soviet collapse and subsequent transformations of the economy and politics. Corruption and the growth of social inequality had …

Selling the “China Dream” in the Middle Eastern Quagmire

Written by Niv Horesh. China’s relatively quiet endorsement of Vladimir Putin’s stance during the recent Syrian crisis was noted with suspicion if not cynicism in the West. Many commentators suggested that China instinctively played the role of US foreign-policy spoiler again, thus turning a blind eye to the horrors of chemical warfare against civilians. Others …

Beyond the Oil: Sino-Iranian relations

Written by Majid Rafizadeh. It has been argued that the only reason China maintains robust political and economic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran—backing Iran directly or indirectly on its nuclear program or foreign and domestic policies in the United Nations and Security Council—is that China is the largest energy consumer in the world. Iran …

China’s posture on Syria: A direct challenge to US interests?

Written by Don Keyser. Former U.S. Secretary of State Clinton, addressing media following a February 24, 2012 “Friends of Syria” gathering in Tunis, emotionally blasted as “distressing” and “despicable” the February 5 Russian and Chinese vetoes in the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) blocking an Arab League-backed resolution calling upon President Assad to step down.[i] Beijing …

What we can learn from the Russian internet… or why politicians use Twitter.

Written by Bettina Renz. State control over most of the national media in Russia has meant that Russian newspapers and TV today are a lot less interesting as a source of political research than they were in the 1990s. The situation regarding the internet is different. This is relatively free and online content in Russia …