Russian plan of "Asian U-turn"
This writes in the publication "China Topix" Arthur Vilyasanta (Arthur Dominic Villasanta).
According to the analyst, the basis of "Pivot to Asia" will become the submarines of the class "Borey". The Russians are planning to deploy twelve such submarines, and three have already been put into service. The boats will be based at the Rybachy base (Kamchatka Peninsula).
The Russian Navy intends to place 6 boats in the North navy, the other six are in the Pacific Fleet.
The analyst recalls that the Borey-class submarine is capable of carrying up to two dozen nuclear missiles on board. And each of these missiles is equipped with ten individual-guided, split-off warheads. In addition, these submarines are extremely low noise.
Submarines will join the new Yasen class submarines with 4-made cruise missiles. The first submarine of the corresponding class entered service with the Russian fleet back in the 2014 year (K-329 "Severodvinsk"). Total Russia plans to build 12 boats. Seven of these submarines will be commissioned by 2017 year.
As a result, the “Asian U-turn” will make the Pacific Fleet the largest Russian navy. And this will happen in the next decade.
Political scientist, former diplomat M. Bhadrakumar in the publication Asia Times reminds that recently the Russians made it clear to the Chinese that Moscow is not eager to openly support Beijing in its territorial disputes (it was about the South China Sea). It was stated that Moscow is not going to intervene in the conflict. But a little later in the press there were reports of an agreement between the PRC and the Russian Federation on holding joint naval exercises - and just in the South China Sea. Contradiction? The expert does not think so.
First, these maneuvers were negotiated almost a year ago. Secondly, in recent years, Chinese-Russian exercises have become commonplace: maneuvers were held in the Black Sea and in the Mediterranean Sea and in the Far East. The maneuvers, the analyst notes, testify to the strengthening of the strategic partnership between the Kremlin and the Middle Kingdom. Third, exercises in the South China Sea may have nothing more than a symbolic effect.
The “Asian U-turn” mentioned above represents, in the opinion of the former diplomat, a certain “by-product” at the same time of the deterioration of relations with the West and the result of Moscow’s awareness of a simple fact: now Asia is becoming the center of world economic growth.
There is one more thing: the Russian geopolitical maneuver cannot be considered a “turn” only to China.
And most importantly. The analyst is convinced that the likelihood of the Russian Navy suddenly starting to conduct exercises with the Chinese in the area of the disputed waters of the South China Sea should be completely excluded. This is clear already from the fact that the Kremlin has established long-term relations with Vietnam: this country has recently signed a free trade agreement with the EAEU, and this was the first such agreement. And another important thing: among the armaments supplied by Russia to Vietnam, there are submarines, cruise missiles, large anti-submarine ships, patrol ships and more. All of this is part of China’s Vietnamese strategic deterrence in relation to its operations in the South China Sea. In general, Moscow will not conduct exercises with China in the waters that Vietnam considers its own.
M. Bhadrakumar believes that Putin’s tactics are “infallible.” The results of the Russia-ASEAN summit (May 2016, Sochi) confirm the intentions of all participants to adhere to the strategy of mutually beneficial strategic partnership. Here we must understand that we are talking about the field of security. In addition, the Sochi document states that Moscow proposes to create a free trade zone for the EAEU and ASEAN, and such a zone could be the basis for a new common market, where states with a total GDP of four trillion dollars would operate. Finally, such a zone would be a Russian response to the initiative of the Trans-Pacific Partnership promoted by the Americans.
The analyst also notes that several ASEAN states at a summit in Sochi expressed the hope that Russia would take a neutral position regarding disputes over territories in the South China Sea.
As for the growing role of Russia in the field of regional security, the analyst does not attach much importance to it. In his opinion, the role of Russia "in the structure of Asian security" is minimal. Yes, the “Asian reversal” is like a certain cornerstone of strategic intentions, and yet hope is one thing, and reality is another. Russia's implementation of her hopes in life causes doubts in Bhadrakumar.
Disputes over the territories of the South China Sea do not constitute the leitmotif of the partnership between Moscow and Beijing. The main mission of the alliance of Russians and Chinese, the author admits, is to create the basis for changing the world order and achieving multipolarity. Yes, there are controversial issues: 1) did the Russian Federation express support for the PRC in territorial disputes; 2) whether Beijing recognized the annexation of Crimea to Russia. However, it is important here that both states adhere to the principle neutrality and at the same time resist the spread of American world hegemony.
So, as can be seen from the comments of experts, the “Asian U-turn” of Russia is not built on the recognition of anyone's interests (for example, Chinese) in Asia prevailing. The Kremlin takes into account the interests of all Asian partners and does not intend to play up to Beijing. Some speculations about sea maneuvers are more profitable for Americans than for Chinese: it is the appearance of the “hegemon” in any region that promises destabilization and disintegration. Proven historically. On the other hand, we must not forget that the United States will continue to play along with all those who challenge the islands in China.
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