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The Yomiuri Shimbun
China, Russia pose blatant challenge to economy, security of world order
BRICS会議 中露の国際秩序挑戦が露骨だ

China and Russia have evidently bolstered their ties to challenge both the economic and security dimensions of the current international order led by the United States and Europe.

The BRICS group ― which comprises the five emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa ― has put forth a policy of strengthened cooperation after holding a summit meeting in the central Russian city of Ufa.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who chaired the meeting, called for the authority of BRICS to be enhanced to boost its influence on the world economy. Chinese President Xi Jinping echoed his view, saying international economic rules must be changed to meet the evolving state of global affairs.

Their remarks can be said to have plainly revealed China and Russia’s ambitions to change the international financial system revolving around the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and centering on Japan, Europe and the United States.

Launched by the BRICS nations, the New Development Bank is scheduled to start operation as early as December. Along with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, it apparently serves as a means for China and Russia to promote infrastructure development in emerging and developing countries, thereby increasing their influence over them.

It is not acceptable that the joint declaration issued after the summit stated, “We condemn unilateral military interventions and economic sanctions in violation of international law.”

Russia has persistently engaged in military interventions by supporting pro-Russia separatist militants in eastern Ukraine. Such being the case, Russia is hardly qualified to condemn sanctions imposed on it by the United States and Europe.

Conflicting interests

The joint declaration also stated, “We express our commitment to resolutely reject the continued attempts to misrepresent the results of World War II.” This strongly reflected China’s intention to check Japan over the issue of historical perceptions ahead of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s statement to mark the 70th anniversary of the war’s end.

China has been executing a plan to build military facilities on reclaimed land over reefs in the South China Sea, a move bound to destabilize the postwar security order. Unless China and Russia alter such hard-line policies, the international community will not cease its criticism of the two countries.

Following the BRICS meeting, a summit meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was held in the same Russian city. The group comprises China, Russia and four Central Asian countries, including Kazakhstan.

China is believed to be utilizing the SCO framework to smoothly realize its “Silk Road” initiative, which calls for a huge economic zone to be built along what was once the Silk Road.

But in Central Asia, China’s interests conflict with those of Russia, which leads the Eurasian Economic Union. Putin and Xi affirmed that the two countries would promote cooperation by integrating the two economic-zone plans. But the fact remains that the presence of China, as the world’s No. 2 economic power, overwhelms that of Russia.

Amid mutual distrust, China and Russia have emphasized the importance of working together. In cooperation with the United States and other nations, Japan needs to closely watch the moves of these two countries.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 11, 2015)

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