While the West is divided, with the US and the EU arguing with each other and suffering from internal crises, China and India are becoming world powers. What does it mean globally and locally? Should we expect any Asian country or Asia as a whole to become a new powerhouse? How to preserve security in the region and what Russia’s role in that could be?
The world’s balance of power is slowly, but steadily moving towards Asia. While some countries like South Korea and Japan still depend on their Western allies, others, like China and India, are becoming independent players rivaling with the US. But the nature of these powers is different, Kim Jin-hyun, Chairman of the World Peace Forum, told valdaiclub.com on the margins of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok.
“Most Western countries are worried about the rise of China and India”, Kim Jin Hyun said, “but they do not have to. China and India will never become powerhouses or empires. Historically, we had great powerhouses like Pax Sovietica and Pax Americana during the cold war, Pax Romana, or Pax Britannica, but there are two sine qua non conditions to become one. The first is a value-based ideology. In Russia, for example, it was communism which influenced the entire world very much. In the US, it is the ideology of human rights and democracy. Of course, China and India support the idea of universal values, but do not provide any”.
The second condition is that such a powerhouse should be able to dominate the world’s food and energy, he went on to say: “China and India are in the most disadvantageous position: they are the largest consumers of food and energy, and do not supply it to anyone else”.
Apart from the global geopolitical issues and the problems of East-West rivalry, there is also the issue of security and internal balance of forces in Asia. The expert warns against any country’s attempts to act egoistically. “As China’s President Xi Jinping said at the 4th Eastern Economic Forum, his country’s position stems from the Asian history. But ‘Pax Sinica’ only means the Chinese empire and I do not think that such an egoistic approach could work. Of course, all countries are egoistic, but there must be some space to share. As was already shown in the Belt and Road Initiative and other projects, nobody is sure that it could solve any problems and harmonize relations within the Asian region”.
“Whether the region could be safe and balanced depends on the powers which have nuclear weapons. If they agree to ‘make future a better place’ and make a compromise not to use nuclear weapons, a kind of rapprochement would become possible. But if such an egoistic confrontation will go on, nobody knows what will happen”, Kim said.
According to the expert, one of the forces that could help preserve the Asian peace is Russia, since now it can be considered a truly Asian power based on its relations with China and Japan and its role in the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. “It has a good position in terms of geography, geopolitics, economics and energy”, the experts explains. “Russians have many advantages in balancing between China and India, India and Pakistan, Japan and China, North Korea and South Korea. Moreover, it is the most convincing and balanced power to make improvements in terms of peace and rapprochement. The only problem is how Russia would place such a potentiality in the smartest way,” he concluded.