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US seeking to entangle Asian countries into sanctions against Russia

August 22, 2014, 18:08 UTC+3 Alexandrova Lyudmila

MOSCOW, August 22. /ITAR-TASS/. US Administration’s craving to press Asian countries into joining Western sanctions against Russia is a knotty and senseless adventure, experts polled by ITAR-TASS said Friday.

US authorities are working hard to convince different countries across the world to join the sanctions, which Western countries have imposed on Russia in the wake of events in Ukraine. Ambassador Daniel Fried, the coordinator for sanctions policy at the US Department of State revealed in an interview with Western media, mentioning China among other nations in this context.

“We’ve been talking also to South Korea, Singapore, we had consultations with China and we continue our consultations,” international media quoted him.

In practice, these consultations began back in July but they had no noticeable effect, Dr. Alexei Maslov, the head of the oriental studies department at the Supreme School of Economics in Moscow said.

The logic of development of East Asian countries like China and South Korea boils down to a gradual pulling out of the American sphere of influence, he said. If they take their lead from Washington in this situation, it will stand at variance with their plans for national development.

“In practical terms, it’s not the introduction of sanctions by the Asian countries but a decrease of supplies of the commodities, which might substitute for imports from Western countries that the US is counting on,” Dr. Maslov said. “Yet there’s a very slim possibility that they’ll do this.”

“The Americans’ declarations are aimed 90% at showing the US is ready to subject Russia to pressures on all the fronts,” he said. “Yet China doesn’t see any benefits in spoiling relations with Russia.”

The likelihood of sanctions on the part of South Korea is also very small.

“China doesn’t support sanctions against Russia at the political level,” said Vassily Kashin, an expert at the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies.

“More than that, President Vladimir Putin visited China on the background of the deepening Ukrainian crisis in May and signed a range of crucial economic agreements there,” he said. “This means the situation is moving in a precisely opposite direction and that’s why China’s joining the Western sanctions is very scarcely in the cards.”

Kashin believes the Americans are trying to spot specific projects that China plans to implement in Russia, including Crimea, and “to apply pressure to these particular spots.”

He also mentioned South Korea, which he said stayed away from supporting sanctions for the time being because it saw a huge potential for economic collaboration in Russia.

“Beyond any doubt, South Korea is an ally of the US and they will of course yield to a certain level of pressure but still it doesn’t serve their interests,” Kashin went on.

“Russia has rich natural resources and it also has definite influence on North Korea, even though a far smaller one that China,” he said.

As for Singapore, in the conditions where Western money markets are closed for Russian companies, they have started taking loans in Asia and relocating their divisions to those countries. In this context, the Singaporean financial markets acquire particular importance

Still, there is also Hong Kong apart from Singapore, Kashin said. It is under Chinese jurisdiction and hence the Americans will have big enough problems if they try to impact it. Hong Kong may make some small concessions but it will keep them at a minimum possible level.

“The attempts to enmesh the Asian nations in a blockade of Russia make up a knotty and senseless task,” Kashin believes. “Even if they manage to achieve something, these measures won’t be particularly efficacious.