Wednesday, May 27, 2015Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Russia's renewed charm offensive in the East

The Ukraine crisis exposes Moscow's vulnerability to Western coercion and pushes it towards Asia.

Published on Apr 21, 2014 3:10 PM

AFTER the US, it's now Russia's turn for an Asia "pivot". Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov recently took no less than two days off

handling the Ukraine crisis for a trip to Beijing, in preparation for President Vladimir Putin's visit to China, scheduled for next month. "That visit is very, very important to us," explained Mr Lavrov, a man who is not otherwise famous for exaggeration.

Meanwhile a raft of new economic and political initiatives are being launched in Moscow: From Japan and South Korea and right up to Vietnam and Malaysia, Russia's charm offensive is spreading far and wide.

And it's easy to explain its primary motive, for Moscow now sees the Asian continent as its best escape from Europe, where Russia is increasingly marginalised politically, and threatened with sanctions.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!