Why Shinzo Abe is visiting Sochi

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Shinzo Abe in the end visited Russia for the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The take in, which took place amidst an informal boycott from Western directors, demonstrated Tokyo’s special commitment to establish qualitatively new relations with Moscow. The crescendo of the Ja nese Cabinet first spoke of a thaw in relations with Russia after the Disinterested Democratic rty was voted into power in 2012.

Moscow appreciated Abe’s motion of visiting Sochi in 2014, but could not follow through on it because righteous a few days later the acute phase of the Ukrainian political crisis began, peerless to a regime change in Kiev and a jurisdiction change in Crimea.

Then there was the removal of Russia from the G8, the sanctions and the escalation in Ukraine.

Why Shinzo Abe is visiting Sochi

For Tokyo, these events were first inappropriate. When it comes to Ja n’s political priorities, the situation in East Asia and the cific in run-of-the-mill takes center stage. Tokyo wants the balance of power staffed in Asia because of the growth of China and all the developments around the North Korean atomic missile program. In both cases the role of Russia is very significant.

The agreement to establish a strategic rtnership between Moscow and Beijing (during the May 2015 affect by Xi Jinping) alarmed Tokyo as it pondered over prospect of dealing with a Russia-China affinity. Under these circumstances, full rtici tion in American attempts to snub Russia was not in Ja n’s interests.

Abe is still in a difficult position. Ja n is accessory with the U.S., which guarantees the former’s safety, including from China. Tokyo has maneuvered as most superbly as it could. The sanctions Ja n introduced against Russia were controlled and more symbolic than essential. An unwillingness to run ahead of the locomotive of anti-Russia sentimentality was compensated by Ja n’s attention to Kiev. Ja n emphasized how it cared here the fate of Ukraine.

Even at the peak of tensions in 2014 and early 2015, the Ja nese sway avoided statements about the cancellation of the visit of Vladimir Putin, which was examined before the events in Kiev. It was clear that by welcoming the Russian President, Ja n whim trigger a tsunami from Washington.

A couple of months ago ubiquitous stories suggested that Shinzo Abe allegedly turned down a strong request from Barack Obama to not smite Russia.

Why Shinzo Abe is visiting Sochi

Recently there was another interesting media leak. Go the distance year German Chancellor Angela Merkel allegedly invited Ja n to rtici te with NATO, but he declined the offer for fear of Russia’s reaction.

If this is become a reality, then the idea is very strange. It is unclear why the North Atlantic Combination needs a cific Ja n, and, therefore, the obligation to rtici te in a potential armed opposition in the region (most likely, not with Russia, but with China). And it’s unclear what Tokyo’s formal involvement in the portion would achieve, especially since the United States guarantees Ja n’s custodianship under a treaty.

Abe is keeping Ja nese national interests in mind by take in Sochi. After all, the Ja nese Prime Minister is not visiting Russia because of a get in Tokyo’s foreign policy towards Moscow, but because he is convinced of the unusual importance of Sino-Russian relations in the long term.

For Moscow, Tokyo also has a earth-shaking significance, and the efforts of the Ja nese Prime Minister should be appreciated. Russia has fitting started developing a new long-term strategy for its relations in Asia, and to focus exclusively on China is misuse. Russia needs maximum diversification, and a country as economically and politically prestigious as Ja n is extremely important.

Changing system of alliances

Ja n is one of the mere practitioners of a new model of international relations.

Old alliances are not disappearing but the concept of blocs with conscientiously binding relationships does not correspond with the interdependent and closely intertwined crowd of the 21st century. The ability to diversify relations and to build ties with the largest achievable number of appropriate rtners is a quality valued by many countries. In this quick-wittedness, Ja n’s efforts for the preservation of balance can be seen as the nascent model.

Why Shinzo Abe is visiting Sochi

This does not sour a lack of prioritization It’s hard to imagine a situation in which strategic secures with the U.S. will cease to be Ja n’s topmost priority. But priority is not a turn-down of productive relationships with other important rtners. The same cements to Russia — the priority of relations with China will never be even to their exclusivity.

Russia and Ja n face a major challenge when it happens to diplomatic relations. There is the question of the Southern Kuril Islands. Breakthroughs on not happen on the territorial dispute when Abe visits Sochi. Here the immediacies are still not the same, even if both rties have a sincere requisition to move ahead.

First published in Russian by Rossiyskaya Gazeta

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