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Ian Frazier

Eastern Siberia and the Russian Pacific rim must develop 'much faster' - Sergey Lavrov

By The Siberian Times reporter
06 August 2015

Moscow's top diplomat stresses importance of the country's Asian face.

'We want this part of our country to develop much faster than it does'. Picture: VladCity

Russia plans to develop its eastern regions - bordering China and close to Japan and South Korea - more strongly than in the past as it seeks a bigger economic role in Asia, said the country's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov. 

'Russia is the biggest Asian country, if you take territory from the Ural Mountains, where the Asian continent starts,' he told Channel NewsAsia in Kuala Lumpur. 

'We have legitimate interests on all borders of our big country; we are one of the biggest Pacific powers.

'We certainly have an interest, first of all, in developing our Far East and eastern Siberia. It is not populated as densely as the European part of Russia, and we want this part of our country to develop much faster than it does. And, of course, these days of interdependence and globalisation offer a lot of opportunities to promote your national interest in cooperation with your neighbours, with other countries in the region'.

Eastern Siberia and the Russian Pacific rim must develop 'much faster' - Sergey Lavrov
'Eastern Siberia and the Russian Pacific rim must develop 'much faster'. Picture: VladCity


Lavrov emphasised Russia's desire to work with other countries, and via existing multilateral structures in Asia.

'That's why, while developing our own programmes for Russia's Far East and eastern Siberia, we try to engage all the potentials existing in Asia-Pacific cooperative structures, including APEC, East Asia Summits, ASEAN and including our bilateral relations with the countries of the region. 

'We are now number eight economic partner of ASEAN, our volume of trade doubled during last seven years. It is more than $20 billion a year now. 

'We intend to continue, not only in trade but we also have joint economic projects in high technology, nuclear energy, outer space exploration, transport infrastructure.

'There are many plans between us and the countries of the region which I believe are mutually beneficial.'

Asked if he was concerned that the $200 billion trade between the US and the ASEAN countries was ten times higher than with Russia, Lavrov replied: 'Why should it concern us? Trade between ASEAN and the US is their business; we are not doing something with our ASEAN friends to outmatch somebody. 

'We are doing this for the benefit of ASEAN and the Russian Federation. And let trade between ASEAN and other countries boom up to the skies we would be concentrating on the abilities that we and ASEAN can use together.'

Eastern Siberia and the Russian Pacific rim must develop 'much faster' - Sergey Lavrov


Eastern Siberia and the Russian Pacific rim must develop 'much faster' - Sergey Lavrov


Eastern Siberia and the Russian Pacific rim must develop 'much faster' - Sergey Lavrov
'We try to engage all the potentials existing in Asia-Pacific cooperative structures'. Pictures: Anatoly Ivanov, VladCity, Vitaly Raskalov


Lavrov said that Western efforts to undermine Russia with sanctions had failed. 'We are feeling a negative impact of illegitimate sanctions, but we have managed to overcome volatility of financial indicators,' he said.

Forecasts that Russia's economy would collapse proved to be wrong.

'We are stabilising the national currency,' he said.

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