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The rise of the Asia-Pacific region on the background of the fall of the unipolar world order: theoretical and practical dimension
Material posted: Publication date: 14-11-2014

The growing importance of the Asia-Pacific region (APR) in contemporary international relations cannot remain without attention of the major players in world politics. USA, China and Russia are well aware of and understand the basic world political trends of modern life. The shift of political and economic weight towards Asia, rapid economic development in China and the entire Asian market, increasing demand for energy – all this indicates that basic processes of world politics and the world economy in the twenty-first century will unfold on the shores of the Pacific ocean.

The rise of the Asia-Pacific region is carried out on the background of erosion of the unipolar world and the transformation of modern system of international relations. The growth of economic and military-political power of China and the revitalization of Russian foreign policy in the East, ambitious financial projects of BRICS countries, proposed at the last summit, Japan's efforts aimed at creating independent military forces, creating conditions for the formation of new centers of power, and with it a new multipolar system of international relations.

1. Expert and theoretical discourse

1.1. The unipolar world in domestic and foreign literature

For a full understanding of ongoing changes should indicate what role was taken by the transformation of the system of international relations in the domestic and foreign theoretical discourses.
The collapse of the USSR in 1991 caused a qualitative transformation has existed since the end of world war II bipolar system of international relations. The end of the cold war and the disappearance of one of the geopolitical poles, the Soviet Union, led to the formation of a new world order. Throughout the 1990s in the West and in Russia representatives of the academic and scientific community looked for theoretical justification of the results of the bipolar confrontation and explanation of the newly re-established, different from the previous system of international relations.

In 1990, when the collapse of the USSR was less than a year, the famous American writer and political commentator H. Krauthammer published in the prestigious publication Foreign Affairs article titled "the Unipolar moment" . In it, he said that after the end of the cold war will constitute the new system of international relations based on the multipolar nature of the relationship of its constituent actors, and the dominance of the USA as guarantor and undisputed leader of the emerging world order.

Sharing scientific views of Krauthammer, and Zbigniew Brzezinski, famous American intellectual and "hawk" in its foreign policy mindset, in 1997 work "the Grand chessboard" proved a unique Imperial status of the United States. The book is written using systematic analysis, gives the possibility to divide the state on those who have the political potential of global and regional actors. In summary, Brzezinski wrote that USA is the only Empire that has ever existed in history. Having great politico-military, economic, informational and, most importantly according to Brzezinski, "attractive" potential, America one can claim the role of superpower and the sole source of power.

In a time when scientists and politicians from the USA tried to provide a conceptual rationale developed after the collapse of the USSR, a world order in the Russian science of international relations was formed Akademicheskii vacuum. Russian experts, understanding the complexity of the change, looking for new Russia new place in the new world. The first time the most popular in domestic theoretical discourse on international relations using the concept of S. Huntington's "clash of civilizations" and Fukuyama "end of history".

It is they, the Russian researchers tried to fill the theoretical gap in science. But, as will become clear later, the concepts of Huntington and Fukuyama, the former so popular in the beginning of the formation of the national school of international relations, has been unable to fully explain the essence of the geopolitical changes after the cold war. Russian science required its own theoretical approach.

The formation of a national school of international relations began in the early 2000s on the basis of the Moscow Institute of international relations (MGIMO-University). In based on systematic and historical approaches.

The big contribution to development of domestic school of international Affairs, introduced Professor A. D. Bogaturov. He is the first application of the system approach in the process of learning of historical events of international political life. They introduced the concept of "unipolar-pluralistic" world order, denoting the state of the system of international relations established after the collapse of the USSR, which was observed "the combination of leadership ambitions of the USA and, at the same time, the desire of less powerful group members these ambitions are to temper, to adapt and lead in line with their own aspirations" . We can say that A. D. Bogaturov anticipated increase in the future the role and significance of ATP. In his book "the Great powers in the Pacific: the history and theory of international relations in East Asia after the second world war (1945-1995)," he is using a systematic approach, describes the history of relations between the major players of the international system in the Pacific and their struggle for influence in this promising region of the world.

A. Torkunov, rector of MGIMO, the great diplomat and specialist on Korea, his entire life was devoted to the study of international relations. At the beginning of the formation of Russian science he has made an enormous contribution to the history and theory of international relations and in the development of Russian Oriental studies .
MGIMO Professor M. M. Lebedeva in their scientific works focused on the problem of the erosion of Westphalian sovereignty and the international arena of non-state actors .
One of the recognized Russian expert in the field of international relations theory became P. A. Tsygankov. In his works he was engaged in that have introduced the reader to core works of Western authors. Thanks to him, Russia got acquainted with the works of G. Morgenthau, E. Carr, K. Non, R. Kahana, J. Naya, etc.

A recognized expert in the field of studying of problems of international security, V. M. Kulagin. He made a great contribution to the development of the basic postulates and characteristics of such important issues as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), terrorism, regional conflicts, etc.
As you can see, the first works of Russian authors in international relations has been mainly descriptive in nature. Domestic researchers have introduced the reader to the Western theories, explained the essence of the main paradigms of international relations, described the state system of international relations, agreeing that she wore a single character. Over time, after the events in Yugoslavia 1999, Iraq 2003, recognition of Kosovo's independence in 2008 in the scientific and expert communities of the American hegemony has become exposed to sharp criticism. The same felt and those who are directly responsible for the formation and execution of Russian foreign policy.

1.2. The transformation of the unipolar world order

Russia is the first country, which roundly condemned the U.S. dominance in the world. In his speech at the Munich conference on security policy, Vladimir Putin described the unipolar world as "the only center of power, the only power center and the only center of decision making" . The President spoke about the necessity of formation of a multipolar world in which multiple poles would build their relationship on a mutually beneficial partnership. Putin's Munich speech, in which he symbolically returned to Russia in politics, made a mixed impact on Western politicians, who are accustomed to see Russia as its "younger" brother. The President said in Munich that Russia "always had a privileged right to conduct an independent foreign policy commensurate with its national interests".

Such statements cast doubt on the very existence of a unipolar world, could not but affect Russia's relations with the USA and European countries. After the recognition of Kosovo's independence, Moscow has accused Washington of violating international law and its unilateral interpretation in favor of the national interests of the United States. However in the Kremlin were concerned about the intensification of NATO policy aimed at expanding its military infrastructure to Russia's borders through the adoption of the organization of new members. There was a threat of the entry into NATO of Georgia and Ukraine that threatened the security of Russia. Moscow's recognition of independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia after the peacekeeping operation in August 2008 and the annexation of the Crimea and Sevastopol in 2014 has shown that Russia is able to defend and enforce the tough decisions in relation to its geopolitical rivals.

Meanwhile, American hegemony began to decline. Failures of U.S. foreign policy in Iraq, Libya, the middle East and in Afghanistan and erupted in 2008, the global financial crisis has forced Western and domestic experts in the field of international relations to recognize the inability of Washington to play the role of global Sheriff. This forced experts and scholars to return to the problem of formation of a multipolar world.

One of the most famous domestic researchers who gave a clear conceptual basis for the theory of a multipolar world, became a Professor of Moscow state University, philosopher and geopolitician A. Dugin. In his scientific work "the Theory of a multipolar world" he came up with the idea of building a new world order on the basis of civilization, each civilization would have its unique set of values . While Dugin clearly stated that a multi-polar world in which there should be three or more power centres, it is a complete "antithesis of a unipolar world."

The trend to reduce U.S. global leadership described in Western scientific literature. In 1996, British researchers C. Dark and R. Harris predicted that after the collapse of the USSR and qualitative change in the system of international relations the US will be faced with the problem of "regulation of international-political processes while reducing their impact on individual countries and the world as a whole."
Reasons for the decline in America's leadership as rooted in U.S. domestic politics. F. Fukuyama in his article "America in decay", published in the authoritative publication "Foreign Affairs", said the inability of the U.S. political system to adapt to changing conditions. American scientist criticizes the American government's failure to manage the political process. Fukuyama notes that the major foreign policy mechanisms concentrated in the hands of "special interest groups and big business."
In his work "Strategic vision: America and the global crisis," Brzezinski criticized US foreign policy. Describing the rise of Asia and the dispersal of positions in the new alignment of forces on the international scene, the scientist says that the U.S. will have to reckon with the formation of new centers of power, primarily, with China.

Discontent of the USA, caused by the loss of their global dominance, has no objective reason. America, because of its historical development, has no experience of living with other countries on an equal basis. It so happened that the US "jumped" from isolationism to hegemony . However, turning their activity in some regions of the world, Washington releases funds to increase its influence in the Asia-Pacific region .

1.3. Theoretical justification for the increase in influence of the Asia-Pacific region

Simultaneously with the discussions about reducing the role of U.S. global leadership in scientific and theoretical discourse there is a new theme – the growing importance and influence of the Asia-Pacific region to which politicians, diplomats and scientists immediately turn their attention.

American policy of the Obama administration, understanding all the true essence increasing the value of the Asia-Pacific region, turn its attention to the East. The same thing, at about the same time as the US, Russia does. Along with this China increases its economic growth and political influence in the Asia-Pacific region. Asia is becoming the object of geopolitical struggle.

Foreign policy strategy, Obama "return to Asia" finds its conceptual justification in the article Hillary Clinton "Pacific century of America" , published in the publication Foreign Policy. In it the former Secretary of state writes that the US spent a lot of effort and money to promote his policies in the middle East, which no longer holds a key place in foreign policy of Washington. Given the increasing importance of the Asia-Pacific region, Clinton attaches to this crucial region in world politics and argues for a revitalization of U.S. policy in the Pacific. Essentially the U.S. from Asia never left. The steps taken by the White house, is aimed at strategic change in the situation in the East.

The processes of transformation of a unipolar world and the increase in the value of the APR is well understood in China. Chinese diplomacy is based on an independent foreign policy in accordance with the national interests of the state and the norms and principles of international law . Chinese experts, when evaluating the changes taking place in the world, believe that Beijing should pursue an active foreign policy in the field of global governance. It will allow China to actively integrate into the globalization processes, develop economic and cultural relations with other countries. To achieve these objectives, China needs, first, to develop its own theoretical base in the field of international relations, secondly, to defend its own cultural and civilization values, in the third, actively participate in the reconstruction of the new world order and to strengthen global security.

Moscow, like Washington and Beijing cannot stay aloof from what is happening in the world of political processes. The offset of a military-political and economic weight in the Asia-Pacific region clearly recognised professional politicians and representatives of scientific community of Russia.

In the foreign policy Concept of the Russian Federation clearly stated that "the increasing importance strengthening the position of Russia in the Asia-Pacific region, due to the affiliation of our country to this most dynamically developing geopolitical space, which consistently moves the center of gravity of world Economics and politics".

In the scientific community the scientists also noted "the increasing importance of the Asia-Pacific region in the global economy, politics and, in the near future, culture to a level equivalent to Euro-Atlantic" .
Of course, the conclusions of Russian experts based on the assessment of the capacity of Moscow to strengthen its positions in the Asia Pacific region. Most domestic researchers are turning their attention to the huge reserves of energy resources of Russia. This leads to the conclusion that "energy is the "door" through which Russia will enter in Asia.

In the domestic literature often emphasizes the future role of Russia as a geopolitical bridge between Europe and Asia". I believe that this statement is absolutely true. Russia does not need to interrupt their in the first place, economic ties with Europe. Along with this, Moscow needs diversification of energy resources and carrying out multi-vector diplomacy.

Touching on the topic of the Asia-Pacific region, the researchers make a special emphasis on the development of China, considering the success of China in economic and cultural development, as "a phenomenal factor in international politics" . This certainly increases the importance of Russian-Chinese relations, which have the character of a "strategic partnership". Mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries should be based on an equal respect for each other.

2. The Asia-Pacific region: geographical, geopolitical and economic dimension

2.1. Geographical dimension

The term "Asia Pacific" was invented by scientists at Georgetown University in the second half of the twentieth century. The concept of the Asia-Pacific region represents a geographical abstraction, the boundaries of which are clearly uncertain.

A geographic component of the term ATR has no paradigmatic approval, because of this, there are several approaches to determine which countries belong to this region.

The first approach can be defined as "Asian-centric", which includes the countries of North-East, East, South and South-East Asia. Such a proposal, at first, may seem quite logical, although it does not take into account the position and influence of foreign countries on the formation of relations in the Asia-Pacific region.
The second approach, more advanced, includes the territory of Eastern Siberia and the Far East.

The third approach – Pacific. Here, in addition to the, in the traditional sense, Asia includes all of Russia, Australia, New Zealand and the USA. This approach eliminates the influence of the countries on the West coast of South America and players from outside the region.

A fourth approach, in addition to Pacific countries includes players from outside the region that have a direct impact on the foreign policy configuration of the Asia-Pacific region. This could include India and Western coast of South America.

In our work we will stick to the fourth approach, as more fully captures the essence of what is happening in the Asia-Pacific region the complex processes of military-political, economic and geopolitical nature.

2.2. Geopolitical map

Geopolitical map of the Asia-Pacific region, presented in Figure 1 visually demonstrates the balance of power in Asia. On the map you can see the three major players: Russia, China and the USA. Moreover, as you can see, Washington's position, from the point of view of activity of foreign policy and diplomacy, are most robust at the expense of inclusion in its sphere of influence like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Australia, the first two of which are with America treaties on defense and security and are considered important military allies of the United States.

Figure 1.
At the same time, the relations between China and Russia are strategic partnership. However, it does not reach the level of military Alliance, which is unlikely to agree to Beijing. Thus, Russia and China on a huge Asian political arena are, by and large, as independent actors with their own national interests.

Not to say that America's position in the Asia Pacific region are fully dependent on its relationship with its allies. Washington is well aware that both Japan and South Korea seek to pursue an independent foreign policy, but at the same time the U.S. is aware that Tokyo and Seoul are interested in cooperation with Washington as a security guarantor of these countries from their frightening growth of China.

The position of Russia, in turn, are distinguished by the presence of rich energy and transport capacity combined with poor integration of Russian economy into the economic system of the region.
Thus, based on the postulates of geopolitics, it is possible to depict the geopolitical situation in the Asia-Pacific region, as the interaction of the Leviathan (USA and its allies), Hippo (Russia) and the Dragon (China).

In Asia Pacific there are several explosive points, among them: territorial conflicts (South China and East China sea, Kuriles, Takeshima), the problem of the Korean Peninsula, North Korean nuclear issue, terrorism, emergency situations, the threat of an arms race. To solve these problems should strengthen confidence between countries, to develop cooperation between the security mechanisms, to promote economic integration

2.3. The economic dimension of the Asia-Pacific region

The Asia-Pacific region is developing rapidly. Large population and high economic growth rates allow to speak about the shift of global economy from West to East.

The growth rate of GDP in Eastern Asia, %












2.4 GHz




South Korea















The population of the Asia-Pacific region today is 54, 9% of the world population, most of which comes from China (35, 1 %). According to forecasts by 2020 the population of the Asia-Pacific region will reach 4.6 billion people.

The Asia-Pacific region because of its rapid industrial development is the largest consumer of energy. According to forecasts by 2030 the Asia-Pacific region will consume 7434 million tonnes of oil equivalent , most of which will occur in China.

Table 1 . Forecast of consumption of primary energy in the world by 2030., mtoe








11 808

13 317

14 526

15 504

16 432


11 808

12 871

13 091

14 987

16 050


11 808

12 763

13 713

14 754

15 896


11 808

13 151

14 327

15 440

16 459

The Asia-Pacific region has an extremely high level of development of integration processes, the main features of which are increasing economic interdependence of Asian countries in conjunction with efforts to address security issues in the region.

In combination with promising infrastructure, investment, transport and energy projects in the Asia Pacific region is growing the attention of the whole world. The EU and the US to Asia is not that other, as desired, in accordance with their economic interests, to become active participants in Asian Renaissance.

3. Russia's turn towards Asia: opportunities and risks

3.1. The opportunity or necessity?

"Russia's turn towards Asia is not an opportunity that is free to use or not, but an objective necessity." Indeed, Russia is historically a Pacific power and cannot stand aside from events in Asia Pacific events.

In order to "steady foot" to stand in the Pacific ocean, Moscow has the potential. First, Russia has the experience of the twentieth century to involve Asian Nations in "global political and economic processes as independent political entities" . In Asia, Moscow watch with respect for her ability and determination to pursue an independent foreign policy. Russia has with the Asian countries vast experience of cooperation based on equal partnership and not to the colonial policy. Secondly, 2/3 of Russia's territory is geographically located in the Asia-Pacific region, which allows Moscow to have a kind of springboard for a geopolitical pivot to the East. Thirdly, Russia as a nuclear country and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has the necessary military and political potential to have the status of a great power. This allows Moscow to pursue a policy in the region in accordance with its national interests. Fourthly, Russia has enormous energy resources, which is essential to maintaining the high economic growth of Asia-Pacific countries.

Analyzing all the ways that can go to Russia, in its turn to the East, we can distinguish two scenarios of development of its economy: "innovation" and "conservative" . In the first scenario, Moscow will bet on the development of innovative and technological cooperation with the countries of the Asia-Pacific region. This will allow it to gain access to new technologies and developments. In the case of the conservative scenario, Moscow will, primarily, be based on its resource potential and on its basis to build relationships with countries in the region.

Favourable seen the combination of these two scenarios. From the sale of energy resources in Russia can not escape, this is her business card. But at the same time, should pay attention to the creation of the condition to strengthen its military-technological and innovation cooperation with countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

Russia seeks to strengthen its relations with China bearing the character of strategic partnership. On this occasion in the Russian and foreign literature is dominated by two opposing views. Some argue that Russia should strengthen trading-economic and military-technological ties with China, because it is in the interests of Moscow. Representatives of another point of view, by contrast, talk about "slipping" of Russia in the clutches of the dragon and its transformation into an energy appendage of China. What hopes to receive and that is afraid of losing Russia's friendship with its great Eastern neighbor?

First of all, Russia aims to attract investments to develop the territories of East Siberia and the Far East. To do this, Moscow needs to create a favourable investment climate. Moreover, the development of the far Eastern territories of Russia will allow to solve the problem of out-migration, creating quality infrastructure and will help Moscow to integrate into the world economy. Second, Russia is pursuing a policy of diversifying energy supplies, trying to gain a stronger foothold in the Asian market. Thirdly, the cooperation with Beijing for Moscow opens new opportunities to strengthen regional security within the SCO.

The aim of the Strategic partnership with China is a comprehensive development and greater openness to the world, through active policy in the spirit of globalization . At the global level there is a desire of Russia and China build a multipolar world based on the democratization of international relations and strengthening of international law. At the regional level, Beijing and Moscow seek to solve the problems of security and continue trade and economic and energy cooperation.
The policy of diversification is necessary for Russia not only in the field of energy supplies, but also in the sphere of foreign policy. Developing cooperation with Beijing, Moscow is able to qualitatively strengthen its diplomacy and to ensure a balanced "unprominent" European and Asian vectors of Russian policy.

Multi-vector diplomacy of Russia can be traced not only at global but also at regional level within the Asia-Pacific region. The development of trade and economic relations with ASEAN countries and, primarily from Indonesian, which from 1 January 2015, will abolish visas for visiting the territory of the Russian citizens, testifies to the absence of "obsession" exclusively on China.

3.2. Obstacles and difficulties for Russia?

In the relationship of Russia and China have substantial difficulties. First, comparing the two economies, there is clearly a difference between economic and demographic potentials. Hence the fear of becoming a "Junior" brother of China.

The demographic situation is also not in Russia's favor. China has more young and cheap labor force that allows him to maintain a high economic growth rate and, for a while, to avoid the threat of an aging population.

The challenges to Russia from-for absence in the far East of infrastructure, transport, are to blame for this weak investment policy. Because of this, there are difficulties to maintain the status of the Far East, as transport and defence of the territory .

Among the problems of the Far East is a constant outflow of population from this territory. This jeopardizes the development of this region because of the lack there of human potential. China, by contrast, has a high mobilization potential existing in the country political system and ready on their own to develop Siberia and the far East .

Image policy of Russia also stalled. China perceives Russia through the prism of his experience. Even though it is subjective, but true in China .

In the minds and attitudes of Chinese people as living images of Imperial Russia and Imperial policy of the USSR. Worry about that in China exists.

It should be noted the low level of Russian involvement in the economic life of the Asia-Pacific region . For many of the key Asian countries, including Indonesia, Russia is a key trading partner and its trade with Asian countries minimal and does not correspond to economic potential of cooperation.
However, it is worth noting that relations "Russia-China" is not the only axis around which revolves the whole policy in the Asia-Pacific region. For a more complete understanding of the geopolitical alignment of forces in the Asia-Pacific region need to consider the key relationships in the triangle "Russia-China-USA".

3.3. Geopolitical triangle "Russia-China-USA"

China has achieved high economic growth, increased volume of commodity exports and imports and was thus the world's workshop . Along with these increased material standard of living of the people. China, meanwhile, has not escaped the social problems, among which an important gap in incomes and development between towns and villages, reformed more slowly developing coastal and inland areas, between the richest and the poorest.
Energy strategy of China is based on the principle of diversification of energy resource supply and a decline in the share of stone in the energy sector Beijing (FEC). Now in China from 1390 million tons of conditional fuel 71 % coal, which is 27, 7 % of global coal consumption. However, according to forecasts from 2000 to 2020 will increase oil consumption in 2 – 2, 6 times, constituting 180 – 200 million tons This will result in 55% of China's dependence on imported oil .

To ensure energy security, China seeks to strengthen the participation of major oil companies in exploration and prospecting for oil , as well as to pursue a policy of diversification of energy supplies and the creation of strategic reserves of oil and gas.

"Grand strategy" of China, which it conducts in the Asia-Pacific region, combines the integral unity of external and internal challenges facing the Chinese economy, can solve the external challenges and to participate in the competition for access to global sources of raw materials, energy resources and markets.

Turning to the issue of relations within the triangle "Russia-China-USA", it is worth mentioning the strategic partnership between Beijing and Moscow. China and Russia share the opinion about the validity of the existence of a unipolar system of international relations that fixed the Sino-Russian joint Declaration on a multipolar world and the formation of a new international order, signed by President of Russia B. N. Yeltsin and Chinese President Zemin C. April 23, 1997.

Legal framework for strategic partnership between Russia and China, documented in a signed 16 July 2001 Treaty on good neighborliness, friendship and cooperation (the"big Treaty"). Both parties, having regard to the Treaty, in the formation of policy in relation to each other was based on the principles of peaceful coexistence, respect for international law the refusal of the use of force, the refusal of entry into blocs or alliances directed against one of the parties to the contract etc.

Russia and China are interested in mutually beneficial energy cooperation with each other. China is the fastest growing economy in the world. To maintain the momentum of its economic growth, Beijing needs to make efforts on policies to ensure energy security of China, based on a continuous supply of strategically important energy resources, primarily oil and gas.

In turn, Russia is the largest energy supplier to the world market. From the point of view of energy security, the Chinese authorities pay attention to the energy potential of the Russian Federation. Proof of that is the construction and launch in 2012 of the pipeline "Eastern Siberia – Pacific ocean" (ESPO) that is supposed to increase energy, Russia's importance for China .

Another event that strengthened the significance of Russian-Chinese energy cooperation, was the signing in may 2014 thirty-year gas contract between "Gazprom" and "CNPC" for the supply of gas to China with a volume of 38 billion cubic m. the contract Value amounted to 400 billion dollars.
Russia also needs China as a geopolitical and economic partner. Although, we must admit that Russia in its current state in Chinese politics plays a much smaller role than China in Russian.

On the other hand, between Beijing and Moscow are at odds on various issues, including international law. China appeared wary feeling after Russia's recognition of independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which, according to Chinese government, did not conform to the principle of territorial integrity of States and threatened the Beijing problems with Tibet, Taiwan and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous region. In such conditions it is not surprising that China has not supported the reunification of Crimea with Russia.

USA pay to the Asia-Pacific region a priority. As noted in the national security Strategy of the USA 2011 "the U.S. economy will depend on the economy in the Asia-Pacific region". "For US activity in the region is the struggle for the post-bipolar world, for China – the fight against post-bipolar world." At the global level, the US hardly anyone can challenge. But, nevertheless, Washington's leadership is reduced with increasing opportunities in other States. And, primarily, China, which the White house think their main geopolitical rival. Russia, in turn, is for the US threats in the Asia-Pacific region.
China and the US are important trading partners. Over 10 years of PRC membership in the WTO, the trade turnover between Beijing and Washington has increased 10 times. American investment in the Chinese economy is 60 billion.
The positions of Beijing and Washington coincide on the issue concerning the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea. In China and the United States clearly stated that the acquisition by Tehran and Pyongyang's nuclear weapons run counter

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