Putin’s Peace Treaty: The Last Chance to Stop the Russia-China Alliance

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Key points in this article:

  • President Putin proposed a peace treaty with Japan this year
  • How deep is the Russia-China honeymoon relationship?
  • Agreeing to the peace treaty is a geopolitically wise decision
    At the Eastern Economic Forum held in Vladivostok earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that they sign a peace treaty within a year, no strings attached.

    Japan did not give a definite answer. The following day local newspapers published editorial headlines such as “Say No to Shelving Territorial Dispute” (Sankei Shimbun), “Don’t Be Fooled by Putin Proposal” (Nikkei Shimbun), and “Dangers of Proactive Diplomacy” (Asahi Shimbun).

    Their main argument was that Japan should not sign a peace treaty while the Kuril Islands dispute remains standing. The treaty, however, could be our last chance at stopping the devil’s Russia-China alliance.


    Deepening Russia-China Relations

    There has been progress in the Russia-China honeymoon relationship.

    Russia held large-scale military exercises in Vostok (the Far East) to coincide with the Eastern Economic Forum, mobilizing 300,000 soldiers, 1000 aircraft and several naval fleets. What bears mention is that the People’s Liberation Army of China joined the exercise, dispatching tanks, aircraft and 3200 soldiers. This became the largest Russian military exercise since 1981, which was during the Cold War.

    According to inside sources, the Russian army shared information and strategies they gathered in Syria with the People’s Liberation Army, as China has not engaged in armed conflict since 1979.

    Back in August, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov even referred to China as an “ally” to emphasize their deepening relationship.

    While attending the Eastern Economic Forum on 11 September, he simultaneously observed the military exercises in the Far East and Siberian regions. Russian news agency Interfax says that both countries agreed to continue joint military exercises regularly.

    In addition, last year Russia lifted its suspension on exports of military equipment to China. This included the S-400 missile system – said to be the best surface-to-air missile system – and the Sukhoi Su-35 air-defence fighter.

    Last week the U.S. responded to the crisis by imposing sanctions against China’s purchases of Russian military equipment.

    The Russia-China relationship is not just military, but also economic. At the Eastern Economic Forum, Russia and China confirmed their intention to interlink China’s “One Belt, One Road” ideology with Russia’s “Eurasian Economic Union” formed by former Soviet countries.

    U.S. President Donald Trump is aiming to revive relations with Russia, but the continuing public suspicions about Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election are a strong incentive for Russia to bond with China.

    Both Russia and China are averse to U.S. predominance, and are connecting over the common goal of multipolarization. So much so that until now Xi and Putin have met over 26 times.

    If Russia and China become allies it would become a central threat to the U.S. and Japan during a war. This is very close to a worst-case scenario.


    Russia-China Relations Are Almost Complete, But . . .

    That being said, Russia has yet to completely trust China.

    It is unclear whether Russia is pleased with its relationship with China. For instance, while the Beijing–Moscow high-speed railway project began as a symbol of the link between the “One Belt, One Road” and “Eurasian Economic Union” policies, China made changes to the original plan for the railway to pass through Siberia. This mortified Russia.

    Domestically, Russia has little regard for the “One Belt, One Road” ideology. There is strong opinion that the project is aimed at expanding Chinese political and military influences while bringing no benefits to Russia. With China’s economic downturn, there is less merit in cooperating.

    This is why Russia is now looking to Japan for economic cooperation.

    There is also the geopolitical problem: Russia and China want to take leadership in the same areas, such as Eastern Europe, the former Soviet countries and the Far East. A typical situation was when China began developing its plans to extend an arctic Silk Road from the Sea of Okhotsk through the Arctic Ocean to Europe. This is the Northern route of China’s Belt-Road initiative.

    Russia, however, has submitted an application to the UN declaring the continental shelf of Russia to be part of its territory. There are huge reservoirs of undiscovered resources lying in the Far East: 10% of all undiscovered oil, 30% of undiscovered natural gas and nickel, cobalt, gold, and diamonds.

    The Far East is obviously part and parcel of China’s military expansion, and Russia is in danger of having its treasure chests stolen. These facts point to the possibility of a rift between Russia and China.


    Japan and Russia Must Sign a Peace Treaty

    Considering the circumstances, we must recognize the importance of Putin’s proposed peace treaty with Japan.

    China’s GDP is 8 times greater than Russia’s, and looking at the figures, it is clear that China is a greater threat to Japan than Russia is. Japan must find a weakness in the Russia-China relationship in order to obstruct it, so it can reinforce the China encirclement network.

    Major Japanese newspapers think that the joint economic activity project on the Kuril Islands should be suspended. They advocate concentrating effort on getting the Islands back. They must realize, however, that once a territory is taken it usually takes a war to get it back. The only other way is to establish warm relations with Russia first.

    That is why Japan must waste no time in undertaking the giant project proposed by Russia in September 2017: to create a corridor connecting Hokkaido and Sakhalin. The project will lead to the security of Japan and the world, and eventually to the resolution of the Kuril Islands dispute.


    A Geopolitically Wise Decision

    Kissinger, who once planned the normalization of diplomatic ties with China to strengthen relations, is now advising Trump to do the opposite of Nixon’s strategy.

    A French historian Emmanuel Todd explains, “Back when Germany attacked the USSR, Churchill proposed to make the USSR an ally. Likewise, if we are to face the threat properly, we must ignore the discomfort we feel against Russia.”

    Indeed, Russia used to be Japan’s enemy, but we must not let our emotions take precedence. The Russian people don’t think so badly of the Japanese. Japan must sign a peace treaty before the Russia-China alliance is completed, and work toward the revival of the G8. Causing a rift in the Russia-China relationship will secure a forward-looking Russia-Japan relationship.

    This is Japan’s last chance to secure a peace treaty with Russia.

Putin’s Peace Treaty: The Last Chance to Stop the Russia-China Alliance
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