In recent years Moscow has been reaching out to Asian powers, especially China, trying to replace the West as a as a major market for Russian exports and source of capital and investment. Western sanctions, following the annexation of Crimea and the Ukraine crisis, accelerated Russia’s keenness to strengthen its ties with Asian countries – and in particular with China. On the surface, Sino–Russian cooperation has been intensifying in recent years. Both countries pledged to pursue joint development projects between the Eurasian Economic Union and China’s ‘New Silk Road’. Russia has also supported China’s rejection of The Hague’s arbitration court’s decision on legal claims in the South China Sea. In addition, last year, both countries conducted joint military exercises in the South China Sea. At the same time, despite its shift towards Asia, it appears that Moscow lacks a coherent strategy to the region as yet. Moscow’s pivot to Asia is not progressing as quickly and has failed so far to bring benefits to Russia. What are the obstacles for Moscow to formulate or follow through with a strategy towards Asia? Given the uncertainty surrounding the new Trump administration what can we expect from Moscow’s Asia strategy in the future?
We invite Gustav Gressel (Senior Policy Fellow at European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)) and Thomas Eder ( at Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS)) to discuss.
Dr. Gustav Gressel is a Senior Policy Fellow in the Wider Europe Programme at the ECFR Berlin Office. Before joining the ECFR he worked as desk officer for international security policy and strategy in the Bureau for Security Policy in the Austrian Ministry of Defence from 2006 to 2014 and as a research fellow of the Commissioner for Strategic Studies in the Austrian MoD from 2003 to 2006. He also was committed as research fellow in the International Institute for Liberal Politics in Vienna. Before his academic career he served five years in the Austrian Armed Forces. Gustav earned a PhD in Strategic Studies at the Faculty of Military Sciences at the National University of Public Service, Budapest and a Master Degree in political science at Salzburg University. He is author of numerous publications regarding security policy and strategic affairs and a frequent commentator of international affairs.
Dr. Thomas Eder is Research Associate at MERICS in Berlin. Thomas Eder’s research focuses on Eurasian geopolitics, EU-China relations and transnational security, and the international legal order. Prior to joining MERICS, he analysed Sino-Russian relations and Chinese energy security, as well as China’s relations with international courts and tribunals. While he studied for his PhD in international law, he worked as a Research Associate at the Universities of Vienna and Hong Kong and a guest scholar at New York University. He also gained professional experience as a Junior Officer at the Austrian Foreign Ministry.