Russia and East Asia Challenges

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2016-60-3-58-71

A. Fedorovskii, Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation (

Abstract. The article deals with the prospects for Russia’s “pivot to the East” taking into account main chances as well as risks in the context of growing challenges in East Asia. The author stresses that national and regional misbalances in East Asia are the results of the dynamic development of East Asian countries during the last 15 years. “Middle class trap” is at the agenda as the main common problem in China and ASEAN member countries. The analysis focuses also on such issues as broad scaled corruption and state-controlled legal system, quality of political, social institutions and social lifts, role of nationalism and culture. Regional misbalances in infrastructure and R&D as well as the crisis of regional institutions are characterized as new challenges to integration trends in East Asia and Asia-Pacific area in general. According to the author’s view, there are three different types of policies to meet the domestic challenges and to overcome “middle class trap”: Japanese, South Korean and Chinese. Prime Minister Ikeda’s “income-doubling plan” accompanied by public activity is described as an effective reform-oriented policy. South Korea’s transition from dictatorship to democratic society and more flexible economy is another type of positive reform policy. According to China’s modern domestic strategy, a lot of attention is paid to administrative measures against corruption, modification of social policy, reforms of banks, etc. At the same time, public activities and legal system, in spite of some improvements, are still under rigid administrative control. Meanwhile, the role of law will be crucial factor of successful development of East Asian countries at the stage of “middle class economy”. To a large scale, the prospects for regional integration depend on growing creative role of China (for example, investments into regional infrastructure and establishment of special bank, initiations of the Asia-Pacific Free Trade Area). At the same time, China will continue cooperation and dialogue with other countries, first of all with the USA. ASEAN members increase their activity to improve sub-regional cooperation and relations with United States and Japan in order to couterbalance China’s influence in East Asia. Finally, the author describes Russia’s policy towards East Asia and the Pacific, including brief history, main trends and key priorities at the current stage. “Free Vladivostok port” and some other initiatives to realize more flexible economic strategy towards East Asia and Pacific will give opportunity for Russia to promote its integration into the Pacific Area. Transition of Russia’s export structure from resources and energy to innovation goods and services is at the agenda. 

Keywords: Russia, East Asia, Asia-Pacific region, APEC, Asia-Pacific Free Trade Area, ASEAN, China, Republic of Korea, USA, Japan, middle-income trap 

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For citation:
Fedorovsky A. Russia and East Asia Challenges . World Eonomy and International Relations, 2016, vol. 60, no. 3, pp. 58-71.

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