Libmonster ID: UK-1356



Graduate student


Candidate of Historical Sciences

Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Keywords: integration processes, ASEAN, dialogue partners, common Economic Community, national currencies, foreign economic settlements

The global financial and economic crisis of 2008-2009 significantly affected the development of the countries of Southeast Asia (SE), while at the same time making adjustments to the plans of the main regional organization - the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). In particular, the task of creating a new government by 2015 was called into question. The ASEAN Economic Community.

This goal, which was announced in 2007 and confirmed at the 21st ASEAN Summit in 2013, was to build a single trade and investment space covering all 10 ASEAN countries - Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia, and, if possible, Their ASEAN+6 dialogue partners are China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand. It is also worth recalling that the ASEAN+6 actively involves Russia and the United States in trade cooperation. We will discuss below how close the Southeast Asian countries and their dialogue partners are to implementing the idea of East Asian financial and economic integration, and what factors will be key for this.

Plans to create a single economic community in Southeast Asia began to appear since the Asian crisis of 1998. At that time, the IMF's recommendations to get out of the recession with austerity measures did not have the proper effect, and the ASEAN countries had to look for other ways to solve the problem. Since the region's industrial and agricultural sectors are export-oriented, their economic recovery has been helped by the devaluation of national currencies to attract indirect investment from foreign partners, most notably the United States. Within a couple of years, American companies were firmly established in the domestic markets of the ASEAN countries.


The growing dependence of Southeast Asian states on the dollar has caused them many concerns related to the strengthening of the United States ' position in the region. In order to reduce the influence of the US currency, in 2000, ASEAN turned to financially stable regional partners-Japan, China and South Korea (this dialogue format of relations, which began to take shape in 1997, was called ASEAN+3).

The so - called Chiang Mai Initiative, a package of documents signed in Chiang Mai, Thailand in 2000 between the central banks of all ASEAN+3 member countries, was a landmark decision of ASEAN+3 that stimulated further regional integration. The countries agreed to enter into bilateral (and since 2012 - multilateral) agreements on the provision of foreign currency to each other on terms that provided for its repurchase at a fixed exchange rate in order to prevent speculative attacks on national currencies. A fund was created to carry out such operations, which by 2005 amounted to $2 billion, and in 2012 - already $240 billion.1 It is noteworthy that 10 ASEAN countries contributed only 20% of the total amount of the fund, and the remaining 80% - their dialogue partners (the Republic of Korea-16%, China and Japan-32% each) 2. The main reason for the creation of the fund (bypassing the IMF) was the reluctance of ASEAN countries to "get hooked on the American-European model". credit needle".

This policy soon yielded positive results. M. G. Osipova, a Russian expert on the financial integration of the ASEAN countries, pointed out in particular that " ... the factors contributing to the integration of the countries of East and South-East Asia should, first of all, include indicators of dynamic economic growth in the countries of the region. In 2008, the GDP growth rate was 6.9% in East Asia and 5.4% in Southeast Asia. The highest growth rates were recorded in China, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Laos - more than 7% " 3.

In this regard, in the mid-2000s, the idea of creating a single currency in Southeast Asia, similar to the euro that was gaining strength at that time, appeared. As noted by the Deputy Director of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) Russian Academy of Sciences G. I. Chufrin, " ... after China's entry into the WTO (in

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2001-author's note) Beijing expanded its foreign trade operations with its neighbors, coming out on top in the foreign trade turnover of Japan and South Korea, pushing aside the United States. Therefore, the East Asian countries are faced with the question: why use a foreign currency to serve domestic exchange? < ... > China trades with neighboring countries, including Russia, in yuan. Japan uses the yen for foreign trade operations. But it is still very difficult to say which currency will be preferred, because there is intense competition between the two countries."4. Despite China's growing financial strength, Japan remained the largest foreign lender to ASEAN countries in 2007, after Europe and the United States. Japanese banks ranked third in terms of the scale of currency and financial transactions in all countries of the region, and in Thailand even the first 5.

In order to avoid the absorption of their economies by giant "dialogue" partners and prevent their further strengthening in the region, the ASEAN countries decided to "dilute" the dialogue by attracting additional players - Australia, New Zealand and India, with the participation of which the ASEAN+6 format (or East Asia Summit - EAC) was created in 2005. The development of unhindered trade in the form of free trade zones (FTZs) and liberalizing the markets of partner countries were declared as a priority area of EAC activity.

Not wanting to share the financial leadership in Southeast Asia with new "dialogue" participants, Japan proposed in 2006 a plan to introduce a single regional currency-the Asian currency unit (ACU) - based on a basket of currencies of the ASEAN countries+3. All members of the ASEAN+6 format signed an agreement on the use of the AKU in foreign economic settlements, and some not very financially successful ASEAN countries even began to think about converting their domestic economies to this currency.6

Finally, in 2007, the EAC participants set themselves the goal of creating the following projects by 2015: The ASEAN Economic Community, and at the summit in 2012 expanded it to a larger goal - the formation of an East Asian Economic Community by 2020.

However, competition between the regional leaders of the EAC-Japan, Australia, China and India-did not allow any serious steps to be taken to create a single financial system in Southeast Asia, and the ASEAN countries, together with their dialogue partners, continued to orient their national currencies to the US dollar.

In the end, the idea of combining markets in Southeast Asia on the basis of a specially created single currency was not fated to come true because of the global financial crisis that broke out in 2008. In the future, the concept of a single currency itself began to be questioned: the crisis in the euro zone in 2012 showed the disadvantages of the euro's circulation in an unevenly developed economic space. But this is exactly the case in ASEAN, where the gap between Laos and Malaysia is much stronger than, say, between Greece and Germany in Europe.

Meanwhile, after the global crisis began in 2008, the US dollar exchange rate sank significantly, complicating the task of financial integration of the EAC countries. The depreciation of the dollar has forced them to look for more reliable support to achieve this goal. Since the EAC has the authority to intervene in the monetary and financial management of each member of the community, this is where its main efforts were directed.

In order to maximize profits from foreign trade operations, EAC participants thought about the possibility of getting rid of the intermediary currency-the shaky US dollar - and conducting transactions in more "convenient" units for settlements. As an alternative to the US dollar, key players such as Japan, Australia and China, who are confident in their financial stability, began to offer their own currencies.


Indeed, both before and shortly after the 2008 crisis, Japan's economy looked quite satisfactory. A small recession occurred in 2009, but the country successfully overcame it: already in the first quarter of 2011, GDP increased by 3.9% and reached the highest level in the previous 20 years7. However, the natural and nuclear disasters that occurred in Japan one after another in mid-2011 caused huge economic damage. In the future, the slowdown in economic growth led to a strengthening of the yen and associated deflation.

Only in 2013 did the Japanese economy show an upward trend due to the policy of a "soft currency" - the so-called "abenomics" (a neologism made up of the name of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was elected in December 2012, and the word "economy"). However, many economists were concerned about the principles of "abenomics", as they were aimed at doubling Japan's money supply, for which its Central Bank was able to print yen almost without restrictions. But the flood of liquidity is likely to lead not to the planned inflation rate of 2% per year8, but to "hyperinflation, as was the case in Germany in 1923," according to Takeshi Fujimaki, a former adviser to billionaire George Soros9.

Against the background of such serious problems, Japan postponed plans to unite the economies of the EAC countries based on its yen.

It is interesting that back in 2008, Australian President Kevin Rudd put forward the concept of creating an Asia-Pacific Community by 2020, which included the participation of the United States in addition to the EAC countries. According to Rudd, the regulatory center of this organization should have been Australia, ready to take on the role of a mediator between the United States, China, Japan and India, which are in potentially conflicting relations with each other. It goes without saying that Australia was also willing to take on the financial side of the issue, offering its own currency - the Australian dollar - as a basis for integrating the countries of the Community.

Meanwhile, listening carefully to Canberra's rhetoric, China has been gradually buying up Australian resources in the form of stakes in major mining projects. China has become one of the largest

page 34

markets for Australian goods and products, which accounted for a quarter of all exports, or approximately 5% of Australian GDP. For example, 60% of the iron ore produced in Australia was exported to China. 10 Against the backdrop of China's growing demand for Australian minerals, Australia's GDP grew slowly but steadily, adding about 0.2% per year. However, in the first quarter of 2011, Australia posted its biggest economic downturn in 20 years. Australian GDP fell to minus 1.2%11. The reason was the collapse of raw material exports by 8.7% due to lower demand from China, where economic growth slowed significantly. In 2013, China's still low demand for Australian iron ore continued to negatively affect the situation in the Australian economy.

In 2011, the price of another Australian export resource, thermal coal, which is exported to EAC partners in South Korea and Japan, fell by 17%. All of this has pushed the country into a recession that hasn't been seen in the last two decades.

Falling export prices forced the Australian Central Bank in 2012 to cut its refinancing rate to the lowest level since 2009, dropping it to 2.5%12. In 2013, this rate continued to be maintained at 2.75%. As a result, the Australian dollar exchange rate lost about 15%, however, thereby contributing to economic growth 13.

As a result of internal economic problems, Australia, like Japan, abandoned the idea of uniting the EAC member countries on the basis of a national currency. The economic situation of the country, which is heavily dependent on how the most important trade and economic partner, the People's Republic of China, is doing, turned out to be too unstable...

Whether the sharp economic downturn in Australia was an accident, or whether it was the result of carefully thought-out plans of the Middle Kingdom, is up to analysts, who still disagree on this issue.


The Republic of Korea has always been a partner of the United States to a greater extent than any of the EAC countries. In 2012, after five years of negotiations between the two countries, the free trade agreement was ratified, which became the largest trade agreement for the United States since the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico in 1994.

Despite this, South Korea was not averse to taking measures aimed at reducing the impact of the dollar on its economy. Having launched EAC relations with reliable US supporters in the Asia - Pacific region-Singapore, Australia and New Zealand-the Republic of Korea responded positively to Canberra's call for the creation of interstate money market funds between the four above-mentioned states. In September 2013, during the APEC Finance Ministers ' meeting in Bali, they signed an agreement of intent to start such cooperation in 2016. It is expected that investors from South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore will start investing freely in investment funds operating in these countries.14 Australia, in turn, a year earlier offered New Zealand to conduct settlements in a single currency: the pros and cons of implementing this proposal were the subject of consideration by specially created commissions of the two countries. Of course, Canberra hoped that if Singapore and South Korea came to the conclusion that they would benefit from switching to a single currency, these two countries would be the first to switch their currency reference points to the single Australian-New Zealand unit of account15.

Time will tell how such a turn of events, if they follow the scenario outlined above, will affect the global economy, the basis of which for the past century has been the US dollar, only time will tell.


But while Australia's dreams of creating a single financial space in the EAC countries based on its own currency still seem unlikely to be feasible, the only serious candidate for ensuring financial stability to global shocks in Southeast Asia is probably China.

The weakening of the US position in the region after 2008 opened up new opportunities for China to expand in Southeast Asia. The fact is that in the face of the financial crisis, talk about the Chinese threat among ASEAN countries faded into the background: they simply could not survive without the Chinese market, which suffered much less than the markets of the United States, Japan and Australia. In this regard, in 2008, the ASEAN countries were forced to agree with the PRC's proposals to deepen integration, which included expanding China's position in the region. It is the Chinese authorities who have come out in favor of creating a regional Southeast Asian economic support fund independent of the IMF in order to fully use the regional financial assistance mechanism and ensure financial stability in the region.

In 2010, to the dismay of the United States, as well as the five ASEAN dialogue Partners, the China-ASEAN Free Trade Zone was created, becoming the world's largest such zone, comprising developing countries with a population of 1.9 billion, a total GDP of $6 trillion, and a total trade volume of $4.5 trillion 16. Moreover, the PRC decided to replace the US dollar's status as an intermediary in world trade with its yuan, taking steps to switch to the Chinese currency in bilateral trade relations with Russia, Japan, Brazil and Indonesia. Agreements on direct payments in national currencies with these countries were signed in 2012, and since 2013 they have been joined by the United Kingdom and Australia. At the same time, the latter agreed to fully promote the yuan as the world's reserve currency.17

But the ASEAN countries were ambivalent about this turn of events. To slow down the rapid strengthening of China's position in Southeast Asia,

page 35

they have once again used the proven tactic of engaging OTHER "external forces" in the dialogue, this time Russia and the United States.


The EAC countries were going to involve Russia and the United States in partnership back in 2011 to work in the new ASEAN+8 format, but this initiative gradually faded due to the economic instability in the world as a whole and the cooling of Russian-American relations. Whereas in pre-crisis 2005 and post-crisis 2010, the ASEAN-Russia summits were widely covered in the media with the personal participation of the President of the Russian Federation, in 2013 the meetings began to take place at the ministerial, business or cultural levels and were very modestly covered in the media. Nevertheless, at the Russia-ASEAN ministerial meeting in 2013, the words of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov were still confidently voiced that "... the potential for deepening partnership [between Russia and ASEAN] is far from exhausted" and that "... today we will be able to see what other opportunities could be used"18.

Earlier, in 2010, against the backdrop of suffering from the consequences of the global crisis in North America and Europe, Moscow officially announced that the priority task of Russian foreign policy will be to enter the markets of the Southeast Asian countries.19

One of the most striking examples of partnership relations between Russia and the key EAC participant, China, was the launch of trading in the yuan/ruble pair on the MICEX in December 2010 in order to reduce the dependence of these currencies on the US dollar. This event is also notable for the fact that the MICEX became the first foreign platform where the yuan is traded.

Russia and China also managed to coordinate policies on their most pressing regional issue in 2010: relations with North Korea.

The key to maintaining long-term relations between the two countries was the Russia-China oil pipeline, which was put into operation in the fall of 2010, and the profit from it compensated for the decline in revenues from the sale of Russian raw materials to Europe. In 2013, the annual volume of Chinese investment in the Russian economy amounted to $3.7 billion 20. In October 2013, a package of documents was signed between the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China, which provided for the infusion of Chinese investment in the Russian economy in general, and in the development of relatively poor Russian regions in particular. According to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, these are "special relations of strategic partnership", supported by the Chinese side's promises to increase the annual investment volume to $12 billion by 2020.21

Another pipeline, the Eastern Siberia - Pacific Ocean (ESPO), which began construction in 2013, is intended to turn the Russian Far East into a major supplier of oil to Japan, China, the United States, South Korea, the Philippines, Singapore, and Taiwan.22

With another important EAC player, the Republic of Korea, Russia has developed smooth relations, not overshadowed by Moscow's adoption of a position on North Korea that would not coincide with Seoul's expectations. Since South Korea relies on its security partnership with the United States and its high - tech export partnership with Japan, it has relegated Russia to its traditional role as a "great raw material power." In this vein, Moscow and Seoul signed an agreement in November 2010 to supply 1.5 million tons of liquefied natural gas per year to South Korea for a period of 20 years under the Sakhalin-2 project. The supplier, the Russian company Sakhalin Energy, has set a promising motto - "To be the leading source of energy for the Asia-Pacific region" 23.

In 2012, South Korea was one of the investors in facilities being built in Vladivostok for the APEC summit.

Russia has a special relationship with Australia. This country is another reliable partner of the United States in the field of regional security, but it is also interested in maintaining its large-scale trade and economic relations with China (which, in principle, the United States may not like). At the same time, Australia is trying to contain the growing influence of both China and the United States in the Asia-Pacific region. And if in 2005 Canberra was categorically opposed to inviting Russia to the EAC, considering it an "extra player" in the region, then in 2010 it supported the proposal to join our country in this organization, hoping that the presence of a third giant-Russia-would restrain the pressure of two competing "hegemons" - China and the United States.

In addition, since the mid-1990s, Australia has expressed its readiness to participate in the development of the Russian Far Eastern mining complex, offering its know-how, equipment and specialists, as well as a solid Australian dollar for the development of regional projects. Today, Australia can also offer our young people the opportunity to receive higher education in this country, which is considered one of the best in the world. Several Russian educational institutions, including Vladivostok Far Eastern Federal State University (FEFU), are already cooperating with Australian universities.

The Australian position on inviting Russia to the Pacific House was supported in Tokyo, despite unresolved disagreements between Russia and Japan over the Kuril Islands. However, since 2011 Japan buys Sakhalin liquefied natural gas, and in a much larger volume than South Korea 24. Japanese companies Mitsui and Mitsubishi own a 22.5% stake in Sakhalin Energy, the operator of the Sakhalin-2 project.25

However, when building relations with the EAC, Russia focuses not only on players who are able to purchase Russian raw materials, but also on partnership with such strategically expedient states as New Zealand, Vietnam and India, which, unlike other EAC participants, have historically developed not too warm relations with Russia. US$. However, almost the only area in which Moscow sees prospects for mutual cooperation with these states is their involvement in the EurAsEC Customs Union. It's a small matter - to decide what exactly will become the basis for mutual trade, as well as to ensure transport links between the Russian Federation and New Zealand.

page 36

New Zealand, Vietnam and India, which is not an easy task.

In October 2013, at the APEC summit in Bali (which, by the way, was already ignored for the second time by US President B. Putin). By Obama) Moscow has clearly outlined plans to attract investment from its strategic East Asian partners in the development of the Russian Far East, which is closest to the Southeast Asian countries. The main difficulty in implementing the plans may be that this region of Ours causes concerns among Eastern investors due to its economic underdevelopment and imperfect business practices. It is appropriate to quote the statement of the Dean of the Faculty of Political Sciences of DVSTU S. Pestsov: "One of the most important conditions for implementing the strategy of successful penetration and consolidation of Russia in the Asia-Pacific region is to provide more space and opportunities for Siberian and Far Eastern regions to be included in regional integration processes, projects for developing cross-border cooperation and cooperation. As long as increasing regional independence is perceived solely as a threat to the country's unity, there can be no real regional integration of the Russian Federation in the Asia-Pacific region. " 26

In October 2013, during a meeting with participants of the World Economic Forum in Moscow, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, in fact, supported this position, saying that "... it is time to transfer additional powers from the federal center to the regions", i.e. to give the regions the opportunity to independently attract funds from domestic and foreign investors " 27.


I believe that in the coming years, the core of regional integration in Southeast Asia (and, possibly, in the entire Asia-Pacific region) will be Chinese capital, supported by the gold and foreign exchange reserves of the Middle Kingdom, which increased by 721% from 2004 to 2012 and reached $3.3 trillion (this is enough to buy the gold reserves of all central banks in the world twice).28.

China is building a balanced and cautious policy in relations with its closest neighbors - the ASEAN countries, as well as with their dialogue partners, smoothly "crushing" their economies and gradually displacing the US dollar from trade operations with the yuan. The Russian Federation, which considers China its strategic partner, is ready, in turn, to invest considerable funds in the development of Russian regions and buy huge volumes of our raw materials, fits seamlessly into these plans.

The next decade, by all indications, will be a landmark in the history of the world economy. And the main event of this period may be the place that the yuan will take in a possible single world currency of the future era. The future will show whether the PRC will be able to achieve this goal, as a result of which all the vectors of world development can change.

1 Asia's nations to double currency swap deal // The International News, 20 March 2012 -

2 Integratsionnye mekhanizmy finansovoi bezopasnosti [Integration mechanisms of financial security].

Osipova M. G. 3 Financial Integration in Asia: ASEAN Plus? // South-East Asia: actual problems of development. 2009, N 13, p. 67.

4 Will Asia be punished with the ruble? // Novaya Gazeta, 23.08.2006 -

Osipova M. G. 5 Regional'naia i global'naia finansovaya integratsiya v Yugo-Vostochnoi Azii [Regional and Global Financial Integration in Southeast Asia]. Yugo-Vostochnaya Aziya: aktual'nye problemy razvitiya, 2007, No. 10, p. 53.

Osipova M. G. 6 What will be the new currency system? // South-East Asia: actual problems of development. 2010, N 14, pp. 71-78.

7 GDP of Japan, 1970-2011. / / International Economic Research - html#pl_1

Molodyakova E. V. 8 Shinzo Abe - the Old New Prime Minister of Japan / / Asia and Africa today. 2013, N 7, p. 55.

9 Abenomics: a new theory of health improvement / / Profil, 26.04.2013 -

Voinov Yu. A. 10 Australia: a window to the Middle Kingdom // Asia and Africa today. 2013, No. 8, p. 23.

11 GDP of Australia / / MFD.RU -

12 The Australian Central Bank lowered its benchmark rate to the lowest level since 2009 and lowered its forecast for next year. Банкир.ги, 02.10.2012 - iya-s-2009-goda-i-ukhudshil-prognoz-na-sleduyushchii-god-10028417 / #ixzz2fYrXgZL5

13 Bank of Australia cuts interest rate to record low / / CROWFR, 06.08.13 -

14 South Korea expands cooperation on money Market Funds / / Window to Korea, 27.09.2013 - dov-denezhnyh-rynkov/

15 Single currency proposed for Australia, New Zealand // Radio Australia, 4 April 2012 - - 04 - 04/single-currency-proposed-for-australia-new-zealand/796368

16 China-ASEAN Free Trade Zone completes its first "working year" / / People's Daily, 01.01.2011 - http://russian.

17 Australia and China abandoned dollars / / NUR.KZ, 10.04.2013 -

18 Statement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the ASEAN-Russia Ministerial Meeting, Bandar Seri Begawan, 1 July 2013 - http://www.mid.rU/brp_4.nsf/0/A2F84FABA C6AB59B44257B9B003F2F99

Lavrov S. V. 19 Russia and ASEAN can do a lot together. Mezhdunarodnaya zhizn. 2010, N 10 - php?n=arpg&pg=319

20 The growth of Chinese investment in the Russian economy was 11% / / Pronedra, 28.01.2013 - 01/28/matvienko-forum/

21 18th Regular Meeting of the Heads of Government of Russia and China, October 22, 2013 -

22 ESPO oil pipeline will give Russia a lever of influence on Europe / / Center for Energy Expertise, 07.01.2013 -

23 Official website of Sakhalin Energy -

24 Russia's only liquefied natural gas plant exports the equivalent of 10% of all Russian gas supplies to Europe //, 09.08.2012 -

25 Official website of Sakhalin Energy...

Pestsov S. K. 26 Asiatic-Pacific regionalism: theoretical projects and practice of regional integration. 2010, N 14 -

27 Shuvalov supported the transfer of additional powers to the regions / / AiF, 20.10.2013 -

28 Double stock / / Vzglyad, 04.03.2013 -


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