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Asia Minute: Economics, Diplomacy and Military Exercises in Russia’s Asia Pacific


This is a busy week for diplomacy in eastern Asia. Leaders from China, Japan, and Russia are among those who are gathering for a regional economic forum — a gathering that does not include the United States.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is playing host this week in the Pacific coastal port of Vladivostok — at the fourth annual Eastern Economic Forum.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is coming, so is Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. South Korea’s president is preparing for a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, but he sent the prime minister.

It’s the first time President Xi is attending the gathering aimed at attracting investment for regional development, and it’s the third time this year that he and Putin will be meeting. The shared agenda between China and Russia this week goes beyond economics and diplomacy.

Russia will also be staging what the government is calling its largest military exercises since 1981, and China will be taking part.

Vostok 2018 will include some 300,000 Russian troops — along with about a thousand aircraft, some 80 ships, and as many as 36,000 tanks, armored personnel carriers and other vehicles.

Credit The Russian Presidential Press and Information Office /

China’s Ministry of defense says nearly 3,200 Chinese forces will take part — along with 30 fixed wing aircraft and helicopters and some 900 weapons.

The military exercises stretch from Russia’s east coast to Siberia, and will last through Saturday.

The economic talks will wrap up on Thursday.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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