Russia’s Eastern Economic Forum: Symbol of US Failure to Isolate Its Main Adversary
by Stephen Lendman
Like its counterpart St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), held annually since 1997, each year attended by thousands from over 60 countries, Russia’s 2nd Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) is proving very popular.
Held on September 2 and 3 in Vladivostok, Russia’s largest Pacific port city, Vladimir Putin “extend(ed) warmest greeting” to attending participants and guests.
They included over 3,000 prominent politicians, business officials and representatives of public associations, including large Japanese, Chinese and South Korea delegations – attending to develop or strengthen trade and economic ties “between Russia and the Asia-Pacific region,” Putin explained.
Tass reported heads of 240 Russian companies and 57 foreign ones attending from 55 countries, one-and-a-half times more than at the 2015 inaugural forum.
Over 200 deals worth more than $26 billion between international participants and Russia were consummated, according to Putin’s Far East Development Minister Alexandr Galushka.
He highlighted 34 investment projects worth over $23 billion. Putin stressed the importance of de-escalating Korean peninsula tensions, urging diplomatic solutions to bilateral North/South disagreements.
Only through mutual cooperation “can we create favorable conditions for countries in the region to ensure stability, security and prosperity,” he stressed.
He met on the sidelines of the forum with various political and business leaders, part of his outreach for stronger bilateral ties in climate of peace and security.
Moscow-based Sherbank is Russia and Eastern Europe’s largest financial institution. Its CEO Herman Gref stressed growing Russian/Japanese cooperation, the next bilateral step to be trading in their national currencies, transactions taking place digitally.
Required infrastructure is being created to accommodate transitional change. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for resolving territorial disputes and moving on for a more productive bilateral relationship.
The goal is “unlock(ing) huge (untapped) potential,” he said. “Let’s close the chapter on the abnormal situation lasting for over 70 years and together start a new era of Russian-Japanese relation (to) last for another 70 years,” he stressed.
Both countries never signed a peace treaty post-WW II because of disputed Sea of Okhotsk islands claimed by Soviet forces at war’s end.
Resolution is long overdue, along with formally declaring bilateral peace. Sergey Lavrov said Putin may visit Japan before yearend.
Russia’s leader thanked South Korea’s Park Geun-hye for attending, explaining “economic relations between Moscow and Seoul are “very diverse.” He mentioned growing ties between their governments and parliaments.
President Park said bilateral relations offer a “solid base for developing our cooperation in the Far East Region” – adding Russian/ROK ties “are always of great importance.”
Russia’s success in attracting international leaders and investors shows US efforts to keep it isolated with sanctions and other hostile tactics don’t work.
Its growing geopolitical importance is too vital to ignore – perhaps just a matter of time before Western European countries break free from US pressure and fully normalize ties with their Russian neighbor, both sides benefitting hugely in the process.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
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