#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: 2012-02-12

Friday, February 17, 2012

Illegal president's 'handicap' revealed

Nailatikau (centre) aka golfer Ian (EN) Jackson. pic MINFO

A story about the good Christmas deeds of the illegal president, Epeli Nailatikau, has backfired.

The article in the regime publication, Fiji Focus, details Nailatikau's busy schedule in December, when he was visiting all of the hospitals, old people's homes and prisons in the country.

Unfortunately for Nailatikau, the story (titled Least of my brothers and sisters) reveals that he took two days off from the itinerary in Ba to play golf - registering (to the disbelief of organisers) under an alias. It seems the west trip was more for the illegal president than it was for the people.

Least of my brothers and sisters
Fiji Focus
(Volume 3 issue 2, 29/2012, page 10)
http://www.fiji.gov.fj/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=63&Itemid=158

Pryde against bail variation for Samisoni and three others

The Suva Magistrates Court has deferred its decision regarding bail variation for four people charged with urging political violence and urging another citizen to burn Suva.

The four are businesswoman and deposed SDL MP, Dr Mere Samisoni, and Mataiasi Ragigia, Semisi Lasike and Apete Vereti.
The case was heard by the acting chief magistrate Usaia Ratuvili who says a decision will be made next week.

In court today, though, DPP Christopher Pryde announced that  Samisoni is no longer a Justice of Peace saying that there has been no Parliament since 2006 so therefore the provisions that allow a MP to be a JP no longer exist.

He also objected to a variation in bail saying all four should be remanded in custody.

Prosecutors allege the group conspired to overthrow the illegal government last year between September and December naming Waisea Kaloumaira as the man they allegedly urged to burn Suva.

In a statement yesterday the family of Samisoni said the case was to be heard after "repeated delays."

It said the 73-year-old grandmother was detained on December 30 and released on bail on 4 January "in a case that co-incised with Fiji's military regime introducing new powers to detain and even kill civilians it suspects of committing an offence under the Public Order Act."

The statement continued with: "Fiji's military regime has established a policy of Lawfare, using the court system to inflict punishment and costs on individuals it intends to destroy, including the elected Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, Human Rights lawyer Imrana Jalal and former Fiji Rugby Union chairman, Keni Dakuidreketi."

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fiji University head spared hefty law suit

Thanks to the Employment Relations Promulgation 2007 Dr Ganesh Chand & Fiji National University have escaped a $1million law suit.
The suit was brought by a former lecturer for unjustified dismissal and damages. See link for details.

Lal versus Chand
http://www.paclii.org/fj/cases/FJHC/2012/859.html

China for Tikoduadua ... and Suva for Teleni?

Back to China
Another trip to China for cancer treatment for Pio Tikoduadua.
Sources say the permanent secretary for the illegal prime minister's office departed on Monday night.
Tikoduadua has spent most of past year in China getting treatment but pictures suggest the cancer is taking its toll.
Back in Suva - permanently?
Sources also say the appearance of Esala Teleni at the government building prompted speculation at a cabinet meeting for the illegal administration earlier this week. Teleni apparently had a closed session meeting with Frank Bainimarama.
Insiders continue to insist Bainimarama intends to bring Teleni back from China as his second in command as he prepares for the 2014 elections. They say Francis Kean has been heard saying around the grog bowl that the RFMF support Teleni's return.

Sharma: number of dengue cases 'privilege information'

Naviyago bridge and flooding
A 28 year old woman has died from dengue fever but the illegal Minister of Health, Neil Sharma, is refusing to tell media how many cases there are in the country.
In a story urging pulic to utilize health services, Fiji Village reports that 18 more cases of dengue fever have been reported but quotes Sharma as saying the actual number of cases is 'privilege information.'
Why is Sharma refusing to say how many people have contracted dengue fever as a result of the floods? People are entitled to know but he only wants to give them selective information.
Typically, Sharma is following the regime line that the truth must be kept from people presumably because the number of dengue cases makes the illegal government, which has already rejected reports of typhoid and leptospirosis, look bad.
In democratic countries, such outbreaks and health alerts are concerning but only governments with something to hide choose to withold information saying it's 'privilege information.'
The 28 year old woman who died was a mother of one from the village of Naviago near Lautoka and her death was confirmed by the village headman Rusiate Deutu after the announcement was made to them by Commissioner Western Colonel Joeli Cawaki.
Fiji  Village reports Deutu as saying Maraia Taleqa was part of the 200 evacuees from Bila and Naviago villages that moved to the Lautoka Girmit Centre which is used as an evacuation center.

Public urged to utilize health services
http://www.fijivillage.com/?mod=story&id=16021224af98db4361d8024d76c68b 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Family of man murdered by soldiers seeks justice

Death at the hands of soldiers: Family mourn Nimilote Verebasaga.

The brother of Nimilote Verebasaga, who was murdered by RFMF soldiers, has spoken out for the first time about his murder. In his video revelation below, he names those who were involved in his brother's murder.

Posted below with his video interview, is a confidential cable leaked by Wikileaks naming  those involved in the torture and deaths of Fiji citizens.  The cable was written by former US ambassador to Fiji, Steve MGann.

P 252359Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY SUVA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1127
INFO AMEMBASSY CANBERRA
AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY
AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON C O N F I D E N T I A L SUVA 000107


PLEASE PASS TO DRL, PM-HDP, EAP/RSP AND EAP/ANP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/26/2019
TAGS:         
SUBJECT: FIJI LEAHY REPORTING: CREDIBLE EVIDENCE OF GROSS
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS BY RFMF AND POLICE PERSONNEL

REF: 08 SUVA 157

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Richard Pruett. Reasons 1.5 (b)
and (d)

 1. (C) Summary: Embassy Suva submits the following credible evidence of gross human rights violations by members of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces and the Fiji Police.  We have listed the individuals by name and then included a summary of the human rights abuses for which there is credible evidence of involvement.  All are Fiji nationals. However, in most cases we lack other identifying information such as dates of birth.

Christmas Eve 2006 Detention, Assaults and Abuse
------------------------------------------

 2. (C) At midnight on Christmas Eve 2006, six pro-democracy activists were forcibly removed from their homes and taken to the RFMF headquarters at Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Suva. According to independent statements by several of the individuals, during the course of the night, RFMF personnel
subjected them to humiliating and degrading treatment, including physical assault and verbal abuse.  They were beaten, punched, kicked, and made to crawl on all fours in the rain.  One woman was allegedly asked whether she was
pregnant and after she replied in the affirmative, a soldier stood on her stomach.  One man was allegedly asked who was Fiji,s president, and upon answering (then-deposed) &Ratu Iloilo,8 was repeatedly kicked by the soldiers.  Another woman said that RFMF soldiers blindfolded her, put an unloaded gun to her temple and fired repeatedly.  The group was then forced to run in the rain from the military camp to a location several miles away, where they were compelled to remove anti-coup slogans from the walls of a house.  Before
release, RFMF soldiers allegedly warned them that if they spoke out again they would be taken back up to the military camp and suffer worse treatment, as would their families.

 3. (C) While much of the alleged abuse was perpetrated by lower ranking and unknown RFMF soldiers, those detained reported that the following high ranking RFMF personnel were present, orchestrated and in some cases perpetrated the abuse:

(1) Tevita Ului Mara, Colonel, Chief of Staff, Land Force, and Commanding Officer of the RFMF Third Infantry Regiment, DOB: 25 May 1965
(2) Pita Driti, Colonel, Land Forces Commander, DOB: 29
October 1960
(3) Sitiveni Qiliho Tukaituraga, Colonel, DOB: 30 December,
1969

The Death of Sakiusa Rabaka Following Detention by the RFMF
---------------------------------------

 4. (C) On January 24, 2007, RFMF and police personnel detained four young men, including 19-year old Sakiusa Rabaka, ostensibly for smoking marijuana.  They took the men to the Black Rock Military Base, near Nadi, and forced the
men to participate in severe exercises, which included multiple beatings.  Among many indignities, the soldiers forced one man to perform oral sex on an unconscious co-detainee.  The four were dropped off at a police station
the following day, where they confessed to their crimes, and then released.  Rabaka died as a result of injuries sustained during the assaults.

 5. (C) The RFMF attempted to frustrate the criminalinvestigation into this incident.  The army refused to allow the police to interview eight RFMF soldiers suspected of involvement.  The police then lost the file, necessitating
that much of the investigation be redone.  The DPP ultimately charged eight RFMF soldiers and one police officer with murder, at which point the RFMF tried to send them abroad on a UN peacekeeping mission.  The attempt was nearly successful, with only a last minute intervention resulting in the accused being asked to de-board a UN chartered airplane at the airport.  Following trial, all nine were convicted of manslaughter and assault occasioning actual bodily harm on March 17, 2009 and sentenced to four years, imprisonment.

 6. (C) The following RFMF soldiers based at the RFMF's Black Rock Base in Nadi in February 2007 were convicted:

(1) Taione Lua;
(2) Ulaiasi Radike;
(3) Etonia Nadura;
(4) Ratunaisa Toutou;
(5) Joeli Lesavua;
(6) Jona Nareki;
(7) Laisa Kurimavua
(8) Napolioni Naulia

Patrick Nayacalagilagi, a police officer at the Namaka Police Station in February 2007, was also convicted.

The Death of Tevita Malasebe in Police Custody
-----------------------------------------

 7. (C) Tevita Malasebe was beaten to death at the Valelevu Police Station on June 4, 2007, after being arrested on suspicion of robbery.  His bruised body was delivered to the Suva mortuary the following morning.  The police ultimately charged seven persons with murder and an eighth policeman
with obstruction of justice.  At trial, the pathologist reported evidence of assault with wooden planks and torture marks on the soles of the feet.  The court ultimately convicted detectives Lole Vulaca and Rusiate Korovusere of
murder.  One person was convicted as accessory after the fact for attempts to cover up the crime.  The remaining members of the Fiji Police Force were acquitted:

(1) Detective Lole Vulaca
(2) Detective Rusiate Korvusere


MCGANN

Nimilote Verebasaga's brother, Nemani Ramasei, shares on Utube for the first time how Fiji soldiers killed his brother.

Sources: regime taking credit for work of aid agency

OUT AND ABOUT: Illegal leader Frank Bainimarama in the western division but sources are challenging the official information. pic Minfo

Murmurs from people on the ground today about what they say is the lack of transparency in what the regime is doing for Fiji's flood victims and what the Red Cross is doing.

Sources say there's disquiet over the agency's operations in the western division, run by Faiyaz Ali, the buddy of the illegal attorney general who was last week made a Justice of the Peace despite facing fraud charges.

Sources say Red Cross distributed water given by Fiji Water and gave food to Fiji Police force but did not call media or issue a press release of where they've been. 

The source says "It looks like they are doing jobs that Government is taking credit for."

The source says the Red Cross should provide a breakdown of where they are distributing and that foreign governments should give their donations to NGOs, adding FRIEND, is doing more than Red Cross.

Another source says despite reports of people getting aid, the help has not been as generous as has been made out.

"When people were at evacuation centers government gave them no food.

"When people from Naviyago village, with a population of 500, were told to return home, they were given one 10kg flour and 5 packs of 2kg dhal!"

Sources also report that Lautoka doctors say there have been three leptospirosis cases despite MINFO maintaining there have been no flood related cases of the disease.

The Fiji Red Cross Society today lauded what it says is the coordinated approach by the National Disaster Management Office during the recent floods in the western division with disaster co-ordinator, Eseroma Ledua, saying the distribution of the rations, security, and other logistics have been up to expectations.
 
In a government statement Ledua said “The authorities and other non – governmental organizations (NGO’s), and international partners have partnered really well which is good.”

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

FTUC and Beddoes add their weight to criticism of latest decree

The State Proceedings (Amendment) Decree contradicts the Public Order (Amendment) Decree which grants safeguards against defamation, libel and slander. 
Where there is error, may we bring truth? Where there is doubt, may we bring faith? And where there is despair, may we bring hope 


FTUC Press Release No.17-04/12
STATE PROCEEDINGS (AMENDMENT) DECREE 2012

The free and democratic world is once again shocked to know about the new State Proceedings (Amendment) Decree 2012 promulgated by the regime. It came into force on 7th Feb, 2012.

The provision of the Decree gives immunity to the Prime Minister and his Ministers from being sued for defamation, libel or slander for any comments they make against anyone, either in their official or personal capacity. It provides that no media organization can be held liable for publication of statements whether written or verbal from the PM and his Cabinet Ministers.

The regime’s spin on the Decree is that it is intended to facilitate open and frank discussion between Government, the public and other stakeholders in the lead up to Fiji’s Parliamentary elections. The decree will expire upon the date when a new Parliament is convened which will have its usual privileges for statements made by Parliamentarians.

The question that begs an answer is that there is no Parliament and no Opposition party so where does this privileged decree fit in with Parliamentary privilege providing immunity to unelected government ministers. Parliamentary privilege only applies to members of Parliament in Parliament and nowhere else.

The ordinary citizens  have to be mindful of Media Decree and the Public Order

Amendment   Decree    when   they    make    any    opposing    Statement   against government. The Decree basically allows the media to print the criticism from the regime and gives a wholesale license to make personal and defamatory remarks against their opponents in the lead up to the general elections in 2014. 


The decree also raises questions on the intent of the Regime and why it should only protect itself when they have no ulterior motives. Surely, if they spoke the truth and had evidence, they do not need any such decree. The media equally need not fear if it reported facts and exercised fairness. We ask, Why isn't the general public also given the same privileges so that open and frank public discussion is held on the future of the Country and her people? This would surely ensure a "level playing field" that the AG is attempting to get the world to believe as his real intention.

Professor Bill Hodge from Auckland University’s Law Faculty describes the Decree as totally beserk, bananas and bizarre. He said the decree purports to change fundamental rights which can only be done by Statute. We agree.

The State Proceedings (Amendment) Decree contradicts the Public Order (Amendment) Decree which grants safeguards against defamation, libel and slander. This contradiction surely points to the fact that the current sets of Decrees are churned out by the regime in desperation for impending Constitution Consultations and elections in 2014, if it happens.

Felix Anthony
NATIONAL SECRETARY


Statement No 5        12/2/2012
Subject:                     ‘State Proceedings Amendment Decree’
STATEMENT
‘Imposing the State Proceedings Amendment Decree just before the country starts the process of developing a new constitution in the lead up to the 2014 General Elections does nothing to inspire confidence that the ensuring debate and exchange between participants in the process will be open, free, transparent or fair’
Former Opposition Leader Mick Beddoes said in a statement today that Imposing the State Proceedings Amendment Decree just before the country starts the process of developing a new constitution in the lead up to the 2014 General Elections does nothing to inspire confidence that the ensuring debate and exchange between participants in the process will be open, free, transparent or fair’
Beddoes said when one considers that the military Regime has over the past 5 years exercised unilateral, absolute, unaccountable and non transparent control over every aspect of life in Fiji, imposing a variety of decrees that in the main have denied the very people they have sought to rule, of their basic and fundamental rights.
Beddoes said that when we look at Fiji’s current score card in terms of the people’s rights and liberties, employment opportunity, economic prosperity and  improvements in our level of poverty and housing, it should be as clear as daylight to everyone, including the Military themselves, that even with the imposition of decrees designed to silence ‘negative comments’ or ‘criticism’ it does not necessarily mean that having removed the criticism and negative comment, that somehow all of the plans and objectives that the government wants to put in place will somehow succeed? It does not as our current position today shows.
This Beddoes said is because by removing the people’s right to comment freely, the government also eliminates at the very least 50% of its natural reservoir of alternative thoughts and ideas that would come from an engaging ‘population‘.
By removing the free flow and exchange of ideas and thoughts, the Regime saddles itself with a very limited and not necessarily genuine flow of thoughts and ideas from only those who support the notion that voting by the barrel of a gun is preferable to voting by the barrel of the ballot, and usually the basis of their thoughts stem from their vested interest and therefore it does not have the best interests of all the people in mind.
Beddoes said repressive decrees that deny freedom of expression only serve to create a pool of dishonesty because those who do advise the government dare not tell the truth for fear of losing out of whatever benefit their support of the Regime brings them and when the Regime uses this pool of thoughts and ideas as the basis for its policies and objectives, it is not surprising that it ultimately fails to deliver.  

Beddoes said that anyone, whether a member of the current Regime, previous governments or parliaments or aspiring for the first time for the honor and privilege to serve the citizens of Fiji as their representative in the next parliament, must be prepared to have every word they say or policy they promote subjected to the full scrutiny of the people they seek to represent and be prepared ‘without hiding behind some so called privilege’ to defend and respond with the facts to back up whatever it is they say.
If the aspiring representatives can’t handle this kind of heat, then I suggest they get out of the kitchen and seek a career in a field where honesty, integrity and moral courage are not qualifying characteristics required.
Beddoes said if we accept that the intention of Regime for the 2014 elections is to usher in a new, progressive and fairer parliamentary system of government that will unify our people, and lead us all towards a prosperous and happy future?
Then over the next 31 months instead of issuing more repressive and counterproductive decrees the Regime will need to start issuing decrees and statements that encourages not discourages our people to look positively towards the future and be courageous enough to embrace change.
And as a government they should take a leaf out of the words uttered by former UK Prime Minister Margret Thatcher and I quote ‘where there is error, may we bring truth? Where there is doubt, may we bring faith? And where there is despair, may we bring hope unquote.
Truth, faith and Hope is what our people seek today and Truth, faith and hope is what our leaders, past, present and future must deliver and if they cannot or will not deliver this to the people then they should accept their limitations and short comings and forfeit the right they may feel they have to seek the peoples mandate to Lead.

Authorized By:          Mick Beddoes

ILSC Commissioner removed over 'delays' in prosecutions

PARTING OF WAYS: Connors and Khaiyum.
 
Nazhat Shameem
Insiders at the Independent Legal Services Commission have confirmed that John Connor's contract as Commissioner was cancelled after Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum made an unannounced visit to do a 'spot check' on the files.

Sahu Khan
Khaiyum picked up two files - Haroon Ali Shah and Diven Prasad - and demanded to know why the lawyers had not been prosecuted and found guilty. 

Sources say Connors told him the process had to take its course and Khaiyum left in a huff. 


Connors' contract was not renewed and the announcement a new Commissioner was on the way came two days ago - with Connors obviously removed from the role despite the regime's efforts to publicly 'thank him' for being at the helm since 2009. 


The Fiji Sun's headline said 'Praise for legal body's ex-head', but there was no direct thanks or effusive acknowledgement of Connor's hard work by Khaiyum. Coverage by other media was even more cursory.


Khaiyum has made much of the fact that the ILSC works independently providing 'confidence to the public about the functions of the legal fraternity', but why is he  interfering in the affairs of the ILSC, which is by decree to remain an independent body? 


It cannot be denied that Connors fell on his own sword. Cavorting with the regime in any manner shape or form is simply an invitation to betrayal or being shafted.


Paul Madigan has been appointed the new 'independent' Legal Services Commissioner. But sources say Nazhat Shameem is at the ILSC everyday and dictates to staff. 


Sources at the ILSC also confirm that it was Shameem who wrote the sentencing and judgment of Dr Shamsud D Sahu Khan, who was disbarred last year for professional misconduct. Connors only read it out - 10 minutes after she delivered it to his office that day.


ILSC will now be anything but independent with the drunkard Madigan at its helm.


We should also note that the ILSC is not truly independent as its funding is determined by Khaiyum's office. Section 88 of the Legal Practitioners Decree 2009 reads:


Remuneration and allowances
88. The Commissioner, whether appointed as part-time or full-time, is entitled to such remuneration and allowance as fixed by the President, upon the advice of the Attorney-General.


Again, the question: why the Attorney General? Why not the Public Service Commisson? Clearly, any semblance of independence is an illusion as the ILSC is just another tool for the regime to stifle opposition.

New JP sworn in despite court case

Sources have revealed that a recently appointed Justice of the Peace is facing fraud charges but has been endorsed by the regime in spite of his alleged crime.
Both the illegal attorney general and the chief justice have brushed aside the fact that Lautoka man, Saiyaaz Faiaaz Ali, is facing fraud charges at the Lautoka High Court.

Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum and Anthony Gates allowed Ali to be one of 24 Justices of the Peace sworn in last week at the High Court in Suva.
Faiaaz Ali, Coup 4.5 has discovered, sold his mother-in-law's house while she was living in it with the assistance of staff at the Westpac Bank. 

The poor old lady had no idea of the transaction until the bank turned up to evict her. 

Ali has been sworn in for three years and was inducted alongside the other JPs by Gates, with sources saying he  is a close buddy of Khaiyum's.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Another tourist attacked in Fiji

Another tourist has been attacked in Fiji but again the story has gone unpublicised because the regime doesn't want to spook the tourism industry.

The South Korean tourist had his right hand (just above the wrist) severed by a Fijian man in a robbery that turned violent last Sunday (February the 5th.)

The man and his wife were guests at a Resort in Beqa.



Sources say the local Fijian man, armed with a knife, entered the couple's room intending to rob them. The tourist put up a fight and in the process, his hand was severed.

They say he ran outside towards security guards and the atttacker then turned on the woman. She also fled the room but the man caught up with her and managed to pin her to the ground and tried to rape her. Sources say she ran away while he tried to get his pants down.

They also say that in the urgency to get the man medical attention, security officers forgot about the woman and that it was an estimated 45 minutes before they realised the wife was still out there. She was found hiding in a bush, half naked.

The injured man, captain and a nurse took a boat and travelled to Suva in high seas and rough weather to get him help. The man was taken to CWM but nothing could be done to re-attach his hand and urgent medical evacuation had to take place the following day (Monday the 6th) to Australia.

The offender is in custody and is a known marijuana peddler on Beqa island.

Last year, between July and September the deaths of a New Zealand man, American and a Japanese student were played down by the regime and Fiji's self-censoring media for fear of alarming tourists and encouraging negative publicity.


EDITOR'S NOTE at 8.15pm Monday February the 13th: Our story initially named Likuliku Resort as the place where the incident occured. This was incorrect. Sources corrected their information a short time ago. The couple were attacked at Lawaki Beach House in Beqa.

A case of even the Russians not trusting thieves?

Lavrov bypasses the regime and donates money directly to the Red Cross and speaks on the Chinese-American influence in the Pacific

RUSSIA DONATES $20,000 USD TO RED CROSS

Ministry of Information

Following the recent visit to Fiji by the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Federation this week donated $20,000 USD ($34,705 FJD) to the Fiji Red Cross Society as flood relief assistance.

Fiji Red Cross Society disaster youth coordinator, Eseroma Ledua said that donations as such were used for the replenishment of disaster stocks in strengthening logistics on the ground.

“Our volunteers are currently working in Ba and Nadi, we have completed our delivery of food supplies to families that were affected during the recent floods,” Mr Ledua said.

Mr Ledua also added that Fiji Red Cross volunteers were now concentrating on delivering health hygiene kits.

Fiji Red Cross will also formally thank all donors once they have completed operations in the Western Division. Cross will also formally thank all donors once they have completed operations in the Western Division.

Russia on China in the Pacific
Shawnna Robert; Editing by Charles Rault | © DiploNews, all rights reserved.
In an interview published in the Izvestia newspaper on January 27, 2012, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov directly addressed a perceived Chinese-American struggle for influence in the Asia Pacific region and how Russia plans to maintain its influence. The premise of the statement is based on a recent shift in policy by the U.S., part of which is inspired by a potential shift in power in the region as a result of China’s military buildup. According to Lavrov, Russia already is a stabilizing factor in the region and hopes to strengthen its role as such in the future. Given the multiple armament and economic security threats in the area, Lavrov said the growing interest in the region is justified. However, he cautioned that it is important that foreign interests must avoid heated confrontation and maintain mutually stimulating partnerships. He claimed a friendly and mutual beneficial relationship with nearly every country in the region, with an emphasis on comprehensive development and multilateral diplomatic dialogue.
In the interview, Lavrov boasted the impact that a 2010 Russian-Chinese proposal for a comprehensive cooperation and security mechanism in the Asia Pacific region could have in laying the foundation for a regional security system based on international law. He hopes these ideas become a unifying factor moving forward, and already has seen some provisions mentioned in high-level bilateral meetings across the region. While the joint Chinese-Russian proposal seemed to garner minimal attention back when it was first announced, Lavrov has brought the initiative up in multiple interviews in the past weeks as he continues to blaze the trail for the upcoming APEC Summit in September. Russia will host the summit, scheduled for September 8th and 9th, and plans an ambitious lineup of events leading up to September. With seven months left until the summit, we can expect to hear more image-building rhetoric from Russia on its role in the Asia Pacific region.
In announcing that the U.S. is entering a Pacific century, the U.S. government has been initiating significant shifts military and diplomatic policy. The most notable change so far is the decision to establish the first American base in Australia. Considering the enormous economic importance the Asia Pacific region has for the U.S., including the manufacturing and shipping of goods, the U.S. has a sense of responsibility to ensure stability. The list of destabilizing factors the U.S. anticipates includes China’s military build-up and the potential for a shift in regional power, uncertainty in the Korean peninsula, and the instabilities that can come from quick economic growth. In particular with China, although there is a growing sentiment among experts that it is unlikely that China will become a military threat to the U.S., the pace and scope of China’s expansion of military capabilities has raised concerns about China’s intentions. The U.S. sees the potential for a disproportionately powerful China to destabilize regional military and diplomatic balances.
China has been aggressively expanding its diplomatic reach in the region over the past few months, including with India, Singapore, and South Korea. China is not entirely fond of the implied message of the decision to build up a military presence and focus on the region. Official word from China takes issue with the familiar claims stresses that its military build up is for peaceful modernization, and that its strategic intention is clear, open, and transparent. However, it does respect the U.S. legitimate interests in the region and welcomes the U.S. as a constructive force. China also takes plenty of opportunities to point out the cooperation-damaging steps the U.S. often takes, most notably the regular sales of arms to Taiwan. U.S.-Chinese military representatives meet frequently and are working to prevent any misunderstandings that may arise from mutual suspicion. These meetings are not negotiations to change either countries actions, however, and both parties remain committed to their policies.
Russia does seem to have a number of mechanisms available to help ensure stability in the region if it choses to. Among the economic factors it can use to its advantage are: extensive gas exports, with pipelines that extend into the Asia Pacific region and plans for expansions; an overly strong raw materials export sector, which will be a benefit to the region’s other WTO members now that Russia has acceded to the WTO; a continued strong demand for imports of finished products and consumer goods, which in turn results in a reliable stream of revenue for the region’s producers and exporters. As a result, Russia could play an important role in stabilizing the economic situation in the region, which will encourage political and social stabilization as well, so long as Russia refrains from using its export resources as a diplomatic tool.
Militarily, despite the pitfalls of an aging fleet, Russia is still an important military power in the region. It is in the midst of a military build-up to replace its aging fleet and to reinvigorate its defense industry exports. However, this build-up keeps getting stuck in contract negotiations and thus has been much slower than expected. Eventually, Russia’s military exports could work to keep the balance of power in the region by helping China’s neighboring countries to reinvigorate their own militaries. Though Russia and China have friendly relations and similar policy goals, Russia tends to continue exporting arms despite controversy, as it does to Syria, if international law allows and so long as the relationship with the bilateral partner is mutually beneficial.
Diplomatically, it is not entirely clear if these mechanisms translate into being an effective middle-man between the U.S. and China on potentially heated topics that my arise from an increased presence of the U.S. in the Asia Pacific region. The lack of coordination on efforts in Syria, Iran, Israel, and other regions raises questions on how effective a partner Russia can be. Also, countries around the world recognize that Russia’s own political stability has an impact on worldwide economic and diplomatic power. Russia’s current internal political turmoil potentially jeopardizes the future of Russia’s stability mechanisms; if there is another large public outcry following the presidential elections, the resulting fallout could lead to a tumultuous time in Russian politics and disrupt the balance of power worldwide. In an instant, Russia can go from being a stabilizing factor in the Asia Pacific to a destabilizing factor. Thus, Russian officials have a strong incentive to maintain consistency in internal power structures and to quiet the political opposition.

Unpacking Russia's stabilizing role in the Asian Pacific