May 7, 2019

Peculiarities of the Region of East Asia, As One of the Centers of World Power

4. Global and Regional Dimensions of the Foreign Policy of the Countries of East Asia

Until the 19th century, the states of East Asia had not had active relations with states of Europe and America. Such political isolation has led to the emergence of a separate, different from the European culture of foreign policy.

The PRC. Over the past five years, China has hosted five large-scale international forums: the 4th Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (May 2014), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit (November 2014), the G20 summit in Hangzhou (September 2016), the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (May 2017) and the 9th BRICS summit (September 2017). Besides, on September 3, 2015, thirty heads of state and government attended the military parade in Beijing on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the victory over Japan in the Second World War. This kind of political activity in China suggests an increase in its influence on international politics. Xi Jinping's report at the 19th National Congress of the CPC highlights the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”. The global “Belt and Road” initiative is one of the main mechanisms for implementing this, while the growth of the economic power of the state will also strengthen its role in world politics.

China's GDP growth rate fell to 6.6 %,
the lowest in the last 28 years

In 2018, there was sharpening of interstate relations between the United States and China, which affected the economic and political situation in the region of East Asia as a whole. China, under Xi Jinping's predecessors, had been actively strengthening its positions in the South China Sea, strengthening its armed forces, and building up its technological potential. During the rule of Xi Jinping, quantitative changes have turned into qualitative, and powerful China, headed by a confident leader, can no longer be considered simply a developing state. Today, the PRC has become the main rival to the United States, for which the rapid strengthening of China's positions in the region is dangerous. In the United States, in 2018, a broad bipartisan consensus was formed, to deter China in the military and technological spheres, and to dismantle the interdependence between the economies of the United States and China. China also seeks to reduce the amount of American imports, especially agricultural products, which was one of the reasons for the trade war between the states. As a result of the trade war, the Chinese stock market lost 2.4 trillion US dollars. Besides, China's GDP growth rate fell from 6.8 % to 6.6 %, the lowest in the last 28 years. However, analysts believe that in the long term, US sanctions will not be too damaging to the Chinese economy, since the People's Republic of China has its own national economic complex with a diversified economy.

To exert pressure on Beijing, the USA decided to engage their political allies in the region. On May 10, 2018, the first in the last 16 years Taiwan-US Defense Business Forum took place in Taipei (the de facto capital of the Republic of China on the island of Taiwan, which Beijing does not recognize and considers Taiwan part of the People's Republic of China). It was attended by more than 300 businessmen, including representatives of American defense industry. They discussed co-operation in shipbuilding, cybersecurity, aerospace industries. As a result, military cooperation between the two countries became more active. At the end of September 2018, the administration of D. Trump approved the sale to Taiwan spare parts for American fighters and other military aircrafts worth 330 million US dollars. The tensions between the United States and China began to intensify after in March 2018 the United States adopted the Taiwan Travel Act, which facilitated the exchange of visits by American and Taiwanese officials. So, as a result of trade wars between China and the United States, diplomatic relations between America and Taiwan have strengthened.

Against the background of trade wars with the USA, China is expanding its cooperation with Japan. Within the framework of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's official visit to China, on October 26, 2018 the parties signed a number of cooperation agreements, and agreed on confidence-building measures to resolve territorial disputes in the East China Sea. Such cooperation becomes completely understandable, since US President D. Trump told The Wall Street Journal that the next target of his trade war could be Japan.

As for South Korea, its economy has found itself under the pressure of two powerful states. But despite this, uncertainties about the global trade war and the South Korean labor market can complicate the growth of the national economy to 2.9 % this year. For South Korea, the time has come when it needs to quickly pursue economic reforms. It is unlikely that this global conflict will be resolved in the near future.

South Korea: 2018–2019 Economic Outlook


North Korea’s nuclear and missile sites

An important issue of foreign policy in the East Asian region is the issue of nuclear weapons. According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), released on November 12, 2018, North Korea has at least 13 hidden missile bases capable of launching nuclear missiles. Analysts suggest that there are at least 20 such launchers. In June 2018, DPRK leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump signed a declaration of readiness for joint actions for nuclear disarmament in the Korean Peninsula. In exchange for this, the United States has promised North Korea a security guarantee. However, no clear terms for denuclearization were established. In May 2018, the DPRK destroyed its nuclear test site in Punggye-ri, but in August 2018 independent experts prepared a report to the UN Security Council, which made it clear that Pyongyang did not stop nuclear and missile programs. The Washington Post also reported that, according to US intelligence, North Korea was producing new missiles.

February 27, 2019, Vietnam hosted the second summit of D. Trump and Kim Jong-un, which was supposed to last for two days, but ended ahead of schedule. According to White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, D. Trump and Kim Jong-un failed to reach agreement on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. By the way, from September 2014 to December of 2018, China conducted about 200 laboratory experiments on modeling a nuclear explosion (for comparison, from 2012 to 2017 the United States conducted only 50 such tests).


5. Relations with Ukraine in Strategic Documents and in Reality

Ukraine has an agreement with China on joint promotion of the implementation of cooperation projects and the initiative “One Belt, One Road”

China's Interests. The current legal and contractual framework of the Ukrainian-Chinese relations includes 246 main interstate, intergovernmental and interdepartmental documents and in general corresponds to the current state of bilateral cooperation [4]. In 2018, was signed a new Chinese Remnimbi / Hryvnia Bilateral Currency Swap Arrangement between the National Bank of Ukraine and the People's Bank of China. Most of the agreements on cooperation between Ukraine and China are in the field of scientific and technical cooperation (agreements on scientific and technical cooperation between the NAS of Ukraine and the China Association for International Scientific and Technical Cooperation, a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in civil aviation security between the State Aviation Service of Ukraine and the Civil Aviation Administration of China, etc.). So, despite the war with Russia and internal political instability, China is still interested in Ukraine. For example, according to Ukrainian statistics, within 9 months of 2018, Ukraine's exports to China were dominated by supplies of ore, slag and ash (31.2 %); grain crops (29.3 %); fats and oils (17.1 %); nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery (8.7 %); timber and wood products (4.1 %); residues and waste of the food industry (2.2 %); products of flour-grinding industry (1 %); other non-precious metals (0.9 %). Of course, it is more expedient to export ended products in order not to turn into a raw material appendage of other states.

China is also interested in the technology and experience of Ukrainian nuclear energy engineering in the context of closing of nuclear plants. In China, they plan to build new reactors and close old NPPs. Ukraine still has a good level of academic science, design, development and innovation. An example of this is our cooperation with China in aircraft manufacturing. The Chinese made their first transport plane in 2017, and it is very similar to the “Antonov” aircrafts (Ukrainian experts took part in its development).


In October 2018, Ukraine and Japan signed
a memorandum on cooperation and exchanges
in the field of defense

Relations with Japan. Ukraine and Japan have concluded 52 bilateral documents [5]. In particular, an agreement on cooperation between Ukraine and Japan to advance aftermath response to accidents at nuclear power stations was signed in 2012, and in 2018 Ukraine and Japan signed a memorandum on cooperation and exchanges in the field of defense. Japanese investors are interested in ports, agro-logistics, production of derivative products and development of agrarian cooperatives in Ukraine. In 2014, Japan became one of the first countries to condemn Russian aggression against Ukraine. In the same year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan issued a statement calling on the Kremlin to comply with international law, in particular, the agreement on the status and conditions of the presence of the RF Black Sea Fleet on the territory of Ukraine, to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. Japan also joined the statement of the G7, condemning Russia's actions against Ukraine, and also decided to impose sanctions against the Russian Federation. Besides, the Japanese government has stated that it is ready to provide Ukraine with 1.5 billion US dollars of financial assistance when Kyiv has fulfilled the IMF's reforms.

At the end of 2018, the then Japanese Ambassador to Ukraine Shigeki Sumi during his meeting with Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman assured: “Japan has always defended the principles of territorial integrity of Ukraine, condemned the annexation of the Crimea and aggression in the Donbas. I assure you that this position will continue to remain unchanged”.

Now Japan and Russia are negotiating over the Kuril Islands. The Ukrainian side should closely monitor their progress: if Moscow transfers to Tokyo two of the four disputed Kuril Islands, the Japanese government will consider the possibility of concluding a peace treaty with Russia, which may affect the state of Ukrainian-Japanese relations.


On December 2018, was signed a memorandum
between the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea

Relations with South Korea. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1991, quite a few international legal documents have been signed between Ukraine and the Republic of Korea that regulate their relations in the political, economic, trade, scientific, technical, cultural, humanitarian and other spheres. All in all, as of February 2019, the contractual framework for Ukrainian-Korean relations includes 2 interstate documents, 25 intergovernmental and 25 interdepartmental documents [6].

At the end of 2018, Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Andriy Parubiy and Speaker of the National Assembly (Parliament) of the Republic of Korea, Moon Hee-Sang signed a memorandum of understanding between the parliaments of the two countries. The parties undertook to promote the development of inter-parliamentary cooperation between Ukraine and the Republic of Korea for the sake of strengthening friendly relations between the states and their peoples. Within their competence, the states will promote strengthening and development of cooperation between Ukraine and the Republic of Korea in the political, trade, economic and scientific and technical spheres, including in the field of digitalization of the economy, development and introduction of innovations, as well as in socio-cultural, humanitarian and other spheres of mutual interest.


Relations with the DPRK. Today, Ukraine does not have active diplomatic relations with North Korea. The DPRK's Embassy in Moscow is an Embassy to Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. The DPRK showed its attitude to Ukraine, namely to its territorial integrity, in 2014, when the UN General Assembly issued a resolution that affirmed the inviolability of the territorial integrity of Ukraine. 11 countries, the DPRK included, voted against it. It should also be noted that many countries (58, to be exact, led by China) abstained during the vote. A Chinese representative said that his country did not want to increase the confrontation. According to him, many players had already shown their interest in the Ukrainian situation. The PRC stuck to the same position in 2008, when a similar resolution on Georgia was adopted.

In 2016–2017 North Korea was one of the main importers of Ukrainian flour

Despite the lack of active diplomatic relations, Ukraine supports cooperation with the DPRK at the economic level. North Korea is one of the main importers of Ukrainian flour. Back in 2015 more than half of all Ukrainian exports of this product were delivered there. Besides, in 2012, the Ukrainian state-owned company “Antonov” signed a contract with the North Korean flag carrier Air Koryo for the supply of two passenger aircrafts. But after 2015, the cooperation has stopped. Further contracts were hampered by the UN trade embargo.

It should be noted that in 2017 The New York Times published a material entitled “North Korea’s Missile Success Is Linked to Ukrainian Plant, Investigators Say”. It stated that “North Korea’s success in testing an intercontinental ballistic was made possible by black-market purchases of powerful rocket engines probably from a Ukrainian factory with historical ties to Russia’s missile program”. The Ukrainian side denied the statement.

The latest developments in DPRK's foreign policy, namely the first historic meeting between the leaders of the DPRK and the RK and two summits between the United States and the DPRK, confirm North Korea's readiness to expand diplomatic relations with world powers, which is why it is important for Ukraine to actualize diplomatic activity in this direction.



1. The full text of Xi Jinping's report at the 19th National Congress of the CPC / [Electronic resource]. — Access mode:'s_report_at_19th_CPC_National_Congress.pdf

2. Documents of the 7th Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea [Electronic resource]. — Access mode:

3. Defense of Japan 2018 [Electronic Resource]. — Access mode:

4. Official website of the Embassy of Ukraine in the People's Republic of China and in Mongolia (non-resident) [Electronic resource]. — Access mode:

5. Official website of the Embassy of Ukraine in Japan [Electronic resource]. — Access mode:

6. Official website of the Embassy of Ukraine in the Republic of Korea [Electronic resource]. — Access mode: