This yearly event first began in 2015 and has since served as proof of Russia's so-called "Pivot to Asia" given the prominence that it's achieved in the years since. The forum always sees the participation of high-profile guests from the Asia-Pacific region and serves as a platform for President Putin to hold bilateral talks with his counterparts. This year will be no different as the Presidents of China and Mongolia will be in attendance, as will the Prime Ministers of South Korea and Japan.
These four countries, as well as Eurasian Economic Union partner Vietnam and Russia's decades-long partner India (both of whom are sending delegations to Vladivostok), have shown an increased interest in investing in Russia's resource-rich and geostrategic Far Eastern Region, which has traditionally lagged behind all other parts of the country in terms of its development. That's actually one of the reasons why President Putin originally thought of creating the forum in order to encourage these up-and-coming nations to establish a stake in the Far East's success and cordially compete with one another in order to rapidly integrate it into the larger Asia-Pacific region.
Whether it's through resource extraction deals, the establishment of connectivity corridors, municipal infrastructure investments, or the construction of factories, there are plenty of opportunities for other countries to profit from the Russian Far East, especially since Moscow recently implemented a relaxed visa regime for the region and is spearheading several Special Economic Zones there. Earlier this year Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Trutnev noted that these preferences were largely responsible for foreign investors committing over $63 billion to the region so far, which to put it in perspective is roughly the same amount that China just said that it'll provide to Africa in grants, loans, and investments.
Judging from the past three years, the upcoming Eastern Economic Forum is expected to build upon the success of its predecessors and continue laying the foundation for Russia's rise as an Asia-Pacific power.
Andrew Korybko is joined by Dong-uk Gwak, student from the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies' Graduate School of International Area Studies majoring in the study of Russia & the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and Ray Hosseini, political commentator. Ray is half-Japanese & half-Iranian and currently resides in Tokyo.
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