Russia considers US Indo-Pacific region concept challenge for ASEAN: PM

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 23, 2019: Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev holds a meeting at the headquarters of Sibur to discuss the implementation of remote monitoring systems as part of a control and supervision reform. Alexander Astafyev/POOL/TASS. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

BANGKOK, Nov 3, 2019, TASS. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev criticized the US concept of a “free and open Indo-Pacific region.” It is a serious challenge for ASEAN, he noted in an interview with Bangkok Post on the eve of the ASEAN Business Investment Summit and the 14th East Asia Summit, TASS reported.

“We are in favor of maintaining the effective system of state-to-state relations which was formed on the basis of ASEAN and has shown a good track record over the years. In this regard, we believe the US initiative is a serious challenge for ASEAN countries, since it can weaken the Association’s position and strip it of its status as a key player in addressing regional security problems,” Prime Minister said.

Medvedev emphasized that Russia is a Eurasian nation and an integral part of the Asian community both due to its geographical location and its historically close political, economic and cultural ties with the countries of this large region. “We are playing an active and constructive role in Asia. We are not trying to put pressure on anyone, we are not interfering in other countries’ internal affairs, not threatening with the use of force, or coming up with ultimatums. On the contrary, we are building constructive relations with our Asian partners based on mutual trust and respect,” he said.

He noted that Russia stands for fair competition and respect the right of states to independently choose their future based on their traditions and civilizational background. “The vast majority of Asian states are building mutually beneficial cooperation with us. Recent examples include the Russia-ASEAN Summit in Singapore, where our relations reached a new level of strategic partnership,” Medvedev added.

The politician noted that Asia offers unique opportunities, and assured that Russia will continue to work in the region in all areas and various formats, including bilateral and multilateral, and also at the venue of the Eurasian Economic Union. “We’ve been doing well so far. A cooperation program between the Eurasian Economic Commission and ASEAN for 2019-2020 is being implemented,” he said.

ASEAN is also interested in cooperating with the SCO, Medvedev added. He noted that the goals overlap and include mutually beneficial cooperation, stability and security of the region, and fighting global challenges and threats, mainly international terrorism. “To achieve maximum effect in this area, it is necessary to establish close cooperation between law enforcement agencies and special services, as is happening at the level of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) and the ASEAN Member National Police Association (ASEANAPOL),” he told the newspaper.

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