Manila Bulletin

Embracing Russia’s pivot to Asia


(Remarks of former speaker Jose de Venecia, founding chairman of the Internatio­nal Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), co-chairman, Internatio­nal Associatio­n of Parliament­arians for Peace (IAPP); and special envoy of President Duterte to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperatio­n (APEC) and for Intercultu­ral Dialogue at the Internatio­nal Inter-Party Forum, Moscow, Russia, October 22-23, 2020.)

Economical­ly, Sakhalin Island’s LNG production is crucial to Japan, South Korea and even Taiwan; between them they consume three-fourths of the world’s LNG supply. Meanwhile, Moscow and Beijing must agree on a way of bene ting equally from their cooperativ­e exploitati­on of the Russian Far East’s wealth of resources.

Politicall­y, Russia’s leadership participat­ion will be vital to a resolution of the issue of nuclear proliferat­ion and Korean uni cation; and even to the multilater­al settlement of American-Chinese difference­s in the China Sea.

Most practical solution in South China Sea crisis

On the raging con icting claims in the South China Sea, we have repeatedly pointed out that there is the potential for a peaceful settlement. That is to temporaril­y shelve the issue of sovereignt­y to pave the way for joint exploratio­n and joint developmen­t of the disputed area’s resources.

From an area of con ict, it could be transforme­d into a landscape and seascape of small seaports, airports, and oil pipelines. Fishing villages and small tourism townships could rapidly rise and the contested areas could become the untrammell­ed passage way for global shipping, carrying more than 50 percent of the sea fright of the world.

The idea of “win-win cooperatio­n,” of a pragmatic sharing of resources could help build a model for lessening tensions and solving con

icts, and avoiding the possibilit­y of war in Asia’s manifold and dangerous ashpoints.

Between Moscow and Washington, between Washington and Beijing, and between Moscow and the European powers, mutual accommodat­ion must be found that gives the parties strategic reassuranc­e and respect for their core interests.

Ironically, the hard-won peace between the earlier Cold War principals — the United States and the former Soviet Union — has enabled the smaller countries to enjoy well over a generation of political stability and economic growth.

We declare we want no new Cold War in the Asia Paci c. Nor do we wish any state in our Asian region or in any other region to play either the “American Card” or the “China Card” or the



On the

Korean peninsula, another major ashpoint, we also ask for the revival of the long stalemated Six-Nation Talks among South Korea, North Korea, the US, Japan, China, and Russia to consider reuni cation of the two Koreas, which is a most difficult but not an impossible task.

Best elements of capitalism

and socialism

In the battle against poverty, may we nd a way perhaps of tempering the individual initiative that capitalism stimulates with socialism’s compassion for those whom developmen­t leaves behind.

We had much earlier suggested in addressing the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC, and later, the United Nations University in Barcelona, Spain, and various other internatio­nal conference­s, that there might be merit in bringing together the best elements of both capitalism and socialism in a new applied art of governance — based on what works best for a particular society over a speci c historical period, considerin­g the persistent and incredibly huge gaps between rich and poor in our time.

The concept could also integrate the ner features of Germany’s “social market” economy and should perhaps operate under the aegis of a liberal constituti­onal democracy committed to free elections, free markets, and a free media.

In China, then paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, hero of China’s successful modernizat­ion and opening to the world, advocated — in fact, started off — a Chinese economic system neither Marxian socialism nor Adam Smith-type capitalism, but something in between or what has been called “socialism with Chinese characteri­stics” or “Confucian synergism,” which has worked exceedingl­y well for China, lifting it to the second largest economic power in the world, next only to the United States.

The ultimate task for our statesmen must be to replace the Pax Americana that has enforced stability on our region during this last halfcentur­y with a Pax Paci ca founded on the balance of mutual bene t; and freely subscribed to by all the powers with vital interests in the region. After all, the US is and will always be a Paci c power.

In all of these urgent tasks, the leadership and participat­ion of the new Russia and the great Russian people will be crucial.

Like the double-headed eagle on its historic coat of arms, the new Russia looks both West and East. And Moscow’s eastward turn, we welcome most heartily, in Asia.

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