On May 25, 2022, Taihe Institute held an online symposium on "Security and Peace in Northeast Asia." Experts from Chinese, Japanese, Russian sides shared their insights on topics of "Influence of the Russia-Ukraine Conflict on the Security Dynamic of Northeast Asia" and "Ways to Avoid a New Cold War in Northeast Asia Under the Background of Sino-US Competition."
Mr. Cheng Yonghua, former Chinese Ambassador to Japan and Executive Vice-President of the China-Japan Friendship Association, pointed out that the current peace and security situation in Northeast Asia presents the following characteristics: first, the risk of confrontation between geopolitical groups is rising; second, the trend of economic issues taking on security concerns is pronounced; third, the regional arms race is intensifying. The main reasons behind this are: the accelerated evolution of the international landscape, and the further eastward shift of the world's economic and political center of gravity. Against such a backdrop, the U.S. seems intent to maintain two strategic goals and strategic power priorities in both Europe and the Asia-Pacific, while expanding the center of gravity of its alliance system eastward. The current international order, especially the order in Northeast Asia, is undergoing profound changes. All parties concerned need to step in from the following three aspects to ensure peace and security in Northeast Asia: first, to enhance mutual trust through dialogues; second, to adhere to the right security mindset; third, to promote security through cooperative development.
Mr. Ukeru Magosaki, former Head of the Intelligence and Analysis Bureau of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Director of East Asian Community Institute, believes that there were two reasons behind the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict: one of them is the expansion of NATO towards Ukraine; the other is the issue of autonomy in eastern Ukraine. Had the U.S. and NATO promised not to continue the post-1990 strategy, which intends to expand NATO eastward to Ukraine, and dealt with the issue in the east of Ukraine "based on respect for self-determination of peoples" in accordance with Article 1 of the UN Charter, the Russia-Ukraine conflict could have been avoided. Unfortunately, the U.S. and NATO did not choose this solution but instead provided military assistance for Ukraine. Such breach of commitments from the US side has also been found in dealing with Sino-U.S. relations. The consensus on the Taiwan issue reached by China and the U.S. forms the key foundation for the bilateral relations. According to the current situation, it is highly likely that the US government would continue to condone and support Taiwan separatists in the future, regardless of the consensus.
Mr. Mikhail Margelov, Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Public Associations and Religious Organizations of the 5th State Duma, Consultant to the Chairman of the United Russia Party of the 6th State Duma, pointed out that, currently, the U.S. is trying to increase its involvement and provocation in Northeast Asia. For instance, the U.S. continues to spread inappropriate remarks on the Taiwan issue, and vigorously promotes its Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), all of which have brought threats to Northeast Asia and beyond. While supplying a large quantity of weapons to Ukraine, the U.S. has also moved a great amount of weapons to Taiwan. The U.S. intends to generate conflicts wherever it can make a profit, and has prepared to contain the country in question with the similar tactics applied during the Cold War. At present, the U.S. has combined strategies used for cold war and hot war in order to intensify conflicts and profit from them.
Mr. Ryo Asano, Law Professor at Doshisha University and member of Japan Association for International Security, pointed out that the U.S. would not reduce its attention to the "Indo-Pacific region" just by preoccupying itself in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. For the U.S., despite the urgency of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the issue of Indo-Pacific region calls for long-term attention. The "Indo-Pacific region" is developing rather rapidly in the fields of economy, science and technology, and has great influence worldwide. The U.S. needs to strengthen its cooperation with Indo-Pacific countries, especially with its allies in this region. At present, the Biden administration is promoting the construction of IPEF, the main purpose of which is to step up its efforts in terms of economy, technology, supply chain, besides the field of military, ultimately aiming to ensure the security of the U.S. in a more comprehensive way.
Mr. Wu Dahui, Deputy Director of Russian Research Institute of Tsinghua University, Researcher at Euro-Asian Social Development Research Institute, Development Research Center of the State Council, stated that the Russia-Ukraine conflict has put the following strategic impacts on the world. First, there has been irreversible damage caused by the conflict on Russia-U.S. relations. Second, it has split up the world into two camps. Third, the Russia-Ukraine conflict has prioritized conventional security concerns above non-conventional ones. Therefore, the Russia-Ukraine conflict presents perspectives for peace in Northeast Asia. First, peace is elusive in a region that is short of a stable security mechanism. Second, the logic of indivisible security of countries and regions also applies to Northeast Asia. Third, in Northeast Asia, the U.S. will continue to create troubles for countries that do not share "core values" with it. Fourth, in the event of a regional conflict, the interdependence among Northeast Asian countries will tend to be weaponized under the pressure of the U.S., so relevant countries should try their best to avoid this.
Mr. Alexander Lukin, former Vice-President of the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Director of Center for East Asian and SCO Studies at Moscow State Institute of International Relations of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Department Head of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs at the National Research University Higher School of Economics, shared that the Russia-Ukraine conflict has greatly changed the strategic landscape of the globe, which includes Northeast Asia. It catalyzed the division between and the unity within the side that advocates a multi-polar order and the side that supports US hegemony. Countries and international organizations that previously held a neutral stance and sought to maintain constructive relations with both forces had to make a clearer choice. The new situation requires more cooperation between China and Russia, such as cooperation in Northeast Asia, but this does not mean that China and Russia are interested in confrontation. Russia is willing to carry out this cooperation mainly because Northeast Asian countries are likely to become its important cooperative partners in the foreseeable future.
Ms. Kumiko Haba, Honorary Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University and Asia-Pacific Region President of International Studies Association, pointed out that, as for the background of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, it is necessary to recognize the importance of Ukraine to Russia and realize the threats posed by NATO's eastward expansion to Russia. To stop more weapons being obtained by Ukraine, the US supply of weapons of mass destruction to Ukraine should be condemned. Since 2014, the U.S. has continued to provide Ukraine with weapons and military training, which was deliberately and wrongfully ignored by the media.
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