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Putin equates Russia’s ‘look east’ with US’ AsiaPivot
December 19, 2014, 6:11 am

"The Asia-Pacific Region – shows faster growth than the rest of the world,” said Putin at a three-hour news conference on Thursday in Moscow [PPIO]

“The Asia-Pacific Region – shows faster growth than the rest of the world,” said Putin at a three-hour news conference on Thursday in Moscow [PPIO]

With Asian nations like China and India growing at a faster rate than the rest of the world, Washington’s Asia-Pivot and Russia’s “turn towards the east” both are resultant of the new global realities, says Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“I often hear comments about Russia’s turn towards the East. Now, if you read American analysts, they also write about the United States’ turn towards the East. Is this true? Partly, yes. Why? Is this political? No. This stems from the global economic processes, because the East – that is, the Asia-Pacific Region – shows faster growth than the rest of the world,” said Putin at a three-hour news conference on Thursday.

The “Pivot to Asia”, which has become one of the Obama administration’s central foreign policy initiatives was announced during the current president’s first term in office. “We increasingly see our top priorities as tied to Asia, whether it’s accessing new markets or promoting exports, or protecting our security interests and promoting our core values,” said National Security Adviser Susan Rice earlier this year.

Amid the worst standoff with the US since the Cold War, Russia is moving to find more stakeholders and partners in Asia. The world’s two most populous nations China and India have growing long-term needs for gas and oil.

“As for energy, the demand for resources is racing in leaps and bounds in China, India, as well as in Japan and South Korea. Everything is developing faster there than in other places. So should we turn down our chance?” the Russian President said in Moscow on Thursday.

Putin also reiterated that the Russia-China gas deals are indispensable for gas infrastructure development in the Russian Far East and Siberia. Russia and China signed a second energy deal in November, slightly smaller than the $400 billion pact reached earlier this year.

“It enjoys privileges on both sides – on both sides, I must stress. the Chinese government simply decided to provide some support to the project participants. We, in turn, agreed to do the same. So the project definitely became profitable,” argued Putin.

“We have agreed on a pricing formula, which is not much different – if at all – from the one applied to our European contracts, except for the specific regional market coefficients… Without it, we would never be able to connect Eastern Siberia and the Far East to the gas distribution system,” he added to a packed conference center that were broadcast live to the nation.

Putin reiterated on Thursday that Russia will not bow to external political pressure and will stay firm to protect its national interests.

He urged the country to restructure its economy, as Russia is currently experiencing an economic slowdown and a rapid depreciation of the country’s currency ruble partially due to high economic reliance on energy exports.

“The Berlin wall never really came down,” Putin said at his 10th annual year-end press conference, adding the West has been erecting new barriers in the way of equitable ties with Russia.

“Our partners never stopped. They decided they were the winners, they were an empire, while all the others were their vassals, and they needed to put the squeeze on them,” said the President.

He criticized the United States and the NATO for their military presence approaching to Russian borders.

“Didn’t they tell us after the fall of the Berlin Wall that NATO would not expand eastwards? However, the expansion started immediately. There were two waves of expansion. Is that not a wall? True, it is a virtual wall, but it was coming up. What about the anti-missile defence system next to our borders? Is that not a wall?” he asked.

He also said the Western sanctions should act as a spur to diversify the Russian economy.

“External conditions would urge us to be more effective and shift to more innovative development ways,” he noted.

He noted that it would take at most two years for the Russian economy to rebound under the most unfavorable scenario.

“I said that even given the most unfavorable internal market condition, this situation may last for about two years…But the situation may start improving even earlier…in the first, second quarter, in mid-2015 or at the end of next year. No one can say for sure,” according to Putin.

Subsequent growth and recovery from the current situation is ” inevitable” amid the overall growth of the global economy, Putin said. “Additional energy resources will be consumed as the world economy expands.”



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