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Russian Deputy Foreign Minister on East Asian Matters

Jan. 3, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko gave an extensive interview to TASS published today in which he outlined Russia’s views on Japan, Taiwan, and North Korea.

Rudenko delivered a sharp warning to Japan, whose administration of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has accelerated the “implementation of abandoning a policy of peaceful development, which has been professed for many decades, and embark[ed] on a track of fast-tracked militarization.” He cited specific cases of concrete steps that Japan has taken, such as “large-scale military exercises near Russia’s borders together with non-regional partners, the adoption of an updated version of doctrinal documents in the field of defense and security with a view to creating an attack potential, and an unprecedented increase in defense spending....

“We consider such activity by Tokyo as a serious challenge to the security of our country and the Asia-Pacific Region as a whole. We warn that if this practice continues, we will be forced to take proportionate counter-measures in order to block military threats to Russia,” he stated. TASS reported that media coverage had said Tokyo’s Defense Ministry plans for deploying hypersonic weapons with a range of up to 1,000 km on the northern island of Hokkaido and the southwestern island of Kyushu. Rudenko further stated that “It is absolutely obvious that it is impossible to discuss the signing of such a document [peace treaty] with a country that takes an openly unfriendly posture and takes the liberty of uttering direct threats against our country,” he said. The two countries have no peace treaty from World War II.

It should be noted that as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had attempted to conclude a peace treaty during his administration. Abe had told TASS in January 2018:

“Our country will deepen its ties with Russia, promoting the joint economic activities on the four Northern Islands [what the Russians call the Kurile Islands] and the eight-point economic cooperation plan. We will consistently, one by one, implement the agreements reached with Russia. The territorial issue will be resolved, and the Japanese-Russian peace treaty will be signed on that basis. Based on relations of deep trust with President Putin, we will build a cooperation relationship on various international issues, including the North Korean problem.”

For North Korea, however, Rudenko expressed Russia’s appreciation for Pyongyang’s support for the special military operation in Ukraine, and the integration of the Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions, and the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics into Russia. Russia and North Korea display similar approaches to most pressing international issues and a high level of political dialogue and mutual understanding, which “create good pre-requisites for that,” he stressed.

Concerning China, Rudenko remarked on an upsurge in tensions around Taiwan due to “provocative activities by Washington and its satellites,” stating bluntly:

“We believe that the Chinese side has the right to take measures it deems necessary to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity regarding the Taiwan issue. At the same time, we emphasize that relations between the two parties on either side of the Taiwan Strait are a purely internal affair of China. As far as we understand, China prioritizes peaceful methods of resolving the Taiwan issue.”

Rudenko’s views on the common issues facing Russia and China with their neighbors in Eastern Asia may well reflect the views exchanged in the virtual meeting between Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin on Dec. 30.

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