Wednesday, 27 August 2008

The alliance between Russia and China gets stronger

There is a latent possibility that at some point the "king of the north" will become a of nations led by Russia and China. That block currently takes the form of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

What is happening at the moment will define the final appearance the characters in the drama "The Time of the End” will have. The global landscape, which is reconfigured since 2001, finally puts on stage the relevant entities.

Here is an article published by Bloomberg today…

Medvedev Seeks China's Support on Recognizing Regions (Update2)

By Lyubov Pronina and Sebastian Alison

Aug. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev met his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao today, seeking support from Russia's biggest Asian ally for its recognition of two breakaway Georgian regions, a move widely condemned in the West.

Medvedev ``informed'' Hu about his decision to recognize the statehood of Abkhazia and South Ossetia during a meeting of the six-member Shanghai Cooperation Organization in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, the president's spokeswoman Natalia Timakova told reporters without elaborating. China has yet to comment.

The fact that China hasn't come out in support of Russia's position ``doesn't mean that China is isolating Russia,'' government spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in a telephone briefing. While Medvedev called on other countries to follow Russia's lead in recognizing the two regions, ``to initiate wide support is not a primary goal,'' Peskov said.

Russia said it plans to establish diplomatic relations with the regions as Russian warships docked at the Abkhaz capital Sukhumi, the Interfax news service reported. Russia's recognition of the regions drew condemnation from Western leaders including U.S. President George W. Bush, who asked Medvedev to ``reconsider this irresponsible decision.''

Taiwan, Tibet

``Russia's main aim is to get support from the organization for its military action and approval in one form or another for recognizing South Ossetian independence,'' said Yevgeny Volk, an analyst in Moscow for the Washington-based Heritage Foundation. ``It is clear that Russia is using it as a counterweight to the West in the conflict and its recognition of South Ossetia.''

While Russia wants diplomatic recognition from members of the group, Volk said such a decision for countries like China and India, which have separatist regions of their own, would amount to ``chopping the branch they sit on.''

The Shanghai organization in recent months has condemned an attempt by Taiwan to seek greater international recognition and unrest in Tibet.

A Taiwanese referendum in March that called for the country to join the United Nations under the name ``Taiwan'' posed a ``threat to stability in the region,'' the organization said. It called protests in Tibet last spring ``illegal actions'' and said it considers Tibet ``an inalienable part'' of China, according to statements on the organization's Web site.

`Big Responsibility'

In addition to Russia and China, the organization includes the former Soviet republics Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, while India, Iran, Pakistan and Mongolia have observer status. The meeting in Dushanbe will discuss terrorism and drug trafficking from Afghanistan, the Kremlin press service said.

The U.K. renewed Western criticism of Russia's actions. Russia has a ``big responsibility'' not to begin a new Cold War over its conflict with Georgia, U.K. Foreign Secretary David Miliband said in a speech at Kyiv-Mohyla university in Ukraine's capital, Kiev.

Miliband accused Russia of trying to ``redraw the map'' of Europe by recognizing the independence of Georgia's two breakaway regions and said the move ``ended the post Cold War period of growing geopolitical calm in and around Europe.''

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov countered that eastward expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is to blame. ``The completely unfounded and unjustified expansion of NATO is leading to this kind of division'' of Europe, he told reporters in Dushanbe.

`Unilateral Change'

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who brokered a cease-fire that ended five days of fighting between Russia and Georgia over South Ossetia earlier this month, said Medvedev's decision, ``which aims at a unilateral change of Georgia's borders, is simply unacceptable.''

Ukraine today refused to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia. President Viktor Yushchenko said ``we regret Russia's decision'' on the regions.

Medvedev called his decision an ``obvious'' move to protect his country's borders. Russia's acceptance of the independence of the pro-Moscow regions, which broke away from Georgia in wars in the early 1990s, followed its military drubbing of Georgia after leaders in Tbilisi tried to retake South Ossetia by force.

Russia has deployed peacekeepers in buffer zones that extend into Georgian territory from the Abkhaz and South Ossetian borders. Lavrov said the troops won't remain in these zones ``forever.''

Russian Warships

``At the same time, we'll insist on the provision of secure international control in the regions of Georgia adjacent to them to prevent the Tbilisi regime from preparing for new military schemes,'' Lavrov said. Russia is prepared to discuss an increase in the number of international monitors in the regions, he said.

The missile cruiser ``Moskva'' and two other warships from Russia's Black Sea fleet docked today at the Abkhaz capital Sukhumi on the Russian navy's first ``official visit'' following Medvedev's decision to recognize the region's independence, Interfax reported, citing Garri Kupalba, Abkhazia's deputy defense minister.

Russia has no plans to increase its naval presence in the Black Sea as ships from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization arrive to deliver humanitarian aid to Georgia, Anatoly Nogovitsyn, deputy head of Russia's General Staff, told reporters in Moscow. The arrival of NATO ships is ``aggravating'' the situation in the region, he said.

South Ossetia, about half the size of Puerto Rico, has a population of about 70,000. Russian officials say 2,100 civilians died in recent fighting in the region, which is connected to Russia's North Ossetia region via a tunnel through the Caucasus Mountains.

Abkhazia, slightly larger than the U.S. state of Delaware, has about 200,000 people. Georgia says about 250,000 ethnic Georgians fled a war there in the early 1990s and haven't been allowed to return.

The play is about to begin... Michael & Emmanuel

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