Far Eastern Studies N6, 2023

A new issue of the «Far Eastern Studies» N6, 2023 has been released [e-version].



Kistanov V.O. NATO’s Pivot to the East: Motives and Problems

Troshchinskiy P.V. Non-Governmental Organizations in Contemporary China: Political and Legal Aspect

Dyachkov I.V. Relations between Russia and the DPRK in 2023


Gomboin Z.E. The PRC’s Foreign Aid to Developing Countries as a Tool to Protect Chinese Companies’ Investments against Political Risks

Emelyanova O.N., Shcherbakov D.A. The Japanese Model of Energy Transition (on the Example of the Introduction of Hydrogen Energy). High Hopes and Modest Prospects

Namzhilova V.O. Russian-Mongolian Border: Updating Checkpoints and Strengthening Infrastructure Connectivity

Shishikin V.G., Antonov D.A. Development of the Video Game Industry in China at the End of the 20th Century

State and Society

Chesnokova N.A. Politics and Mysticism in the Modern Republic of Korea: Case of Lee Jae-myung

Theory and Methodology

Kobzev A.I. The Primordial Meanings of the New Terminology of the CCP

Russian Far East

Faleychik L.M. Budgetary Systems of the Eastern Russian Regions during the Pandemic Crisis 2020–2021: Territorial Projection


Zorikhin A.G. On the Question of the Polish-Japanese Military Alliance against the USSR in 1922–1939


Krushinskiy A.A. The Logic of Circumstances versus the Logic of Intentions: Guan Yu’s Deadly Bet with Zhuge Liang


Zavyalova O.I. Linguistic Museums in China: From Local Dialects to the Languages of the World

Scientific Events

Vinogradov A.V. Marxism is Alive. The 13th World Socialism Forum

Book Reviews

Ostrovskii A.V. Book Review: People’s Republic of China: Politics, Economics, Culture—2022 / Ch. ed. K.V. Babaev, A.V. Lukin. M.: IKSA, 2023. 432 p.

Kocherov O.S. Book Review: Jin Chongji. Survey of Chinese History in the Twentieth Century / tr. by T.B. Urzhumtseva, A.A. Kovaleva. Saint Petersburg: SPbSUE, 2023. 616 p.

Far Eastern Studies Contents for 2023

NATO’s Pivot to the East: Motives and Problems

Valerii O. Kistanov

The article examines such a new phenomenon in world geopolitics as NATO’s desire to expand its activities to the Asia-Pacific region. Along with Washington, in recent years, Western European states have been showing increasing concerns about China’s growing economic and military relations, seeing it as a threat to their interests not only in the field of economics and technology, but increasingly in the field of security. China’s economic, technological, and military-political ambitions are traditionally of particular concern to neighboring Japan. Promoting the idea of the indivisibility of the security of the Indo-Pacific and European regions, Tokyo intends to involve a number of European states in the geopolitical plan to contain China, despite the fact that geographically they are on the opposite side of the planet from China. The NATO leadership, which shares the concept of the indivisibility of the security of the two regions, in its own doctrinal documents, along with Russia, also brings China to the forefront as a threat to its security. In the Asia-Pacific region, NATO intends to strengthen security relations with Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. However, the coincidence of the interests of Japan and Western European states in containing the «rising China» makes Japan actually the main conductor of the expansion of NATO’s activities in the Asia-Pacific region. At the NATO summit in Vilnius in 2023, Japan and the North Atlantic Alliance agreed on a document outlining 16 areas of cooperation until 2026. NATO’s pivot to the Asian East causes wariness not only in Beijing and Moscow, but also in a number of Asia-Pacific countries. Critics of NATO’s advance into Asia fear that it could lead to increased tension and destabilization in the field of regional security.

Non-Governmental Organizations in Contemporary China: political and legal aspect

Pavel V. Troshchinskiy

The article is devoted to the study of general issues of the non-governmental public organizations in China. The current legislation regulating their legal status is being considered, including law-making acts adopted since the beginning of the «policy of reform and openness». In the Soviet type countries, to which the People’s Republic of China belongs, the work of non-governmental organizations cannot conflict with the course of the ruling party. In the PRC, public organizations act as an integral part of a United Front led by the CPC and consisting of various political forces striving for a common goal — the «great revival of the Chinese nation.» The activities of opposition public organizations in China are prohibited, and their registration is impossible. The Chinese authorities believe that the interests of the collective are above the interests of the individual, therefore, individuals that do not obey the «mass line» do not have the right to exist. Western experts believe that the absence of oppositional, state-independent public organizations in China does not allow them to be classified as non-governmental. However, Chinese specifics are overlooked, which leads to an incorrect transfer of Western concepts and institutions to Chinese soil and, consequently, allegations of an insufficient degree of democratization of China. The study provides up-to-date statistics on the number of non-governmental public organizations in China in recent years.

Relations between Russia and the DPRK in 2023

Ilya V. Dyachkov

2023 witnessed a marked surge in contacts between Russia and the DPRK. Active mutual visits were the main event and the main surprise. In summer Russian defense minister Sergey Shoigu visited Pyongyang, in September North Korean leader Kim Jong-un came to Vladivostok to meet President Vladimir Putin, and in October Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov went to the DPRK.

After the COVID-induced break, the two countries’ representatives met face to face to seek ways to develop bilateral relations in a new political reality. Moscow and Pyongyang are concerned about the US — South Korea — Japan trilateral alliance emerging in North East Asia. Besides, practical cooperation should reach a level worthy of neighbors who have converging foreign policy views. Also, the two parties are discussing how to organize their political cooperation in the future.

Now, in a changed world, Russia promises to block all new sanctions against the DPRK in the UN Security Council, but it does not mean Moscow will neglect its duties as a permanent member or ignore sanctions that are already in effect. The quest for available profitable cooperation formats may prove arduous, and possible options might include projects in the areas of logistics, tourism, etc. Still, it is highly unlikely that Russia receives or seeks arms supplies from the DPRK, like the West claims.

As the global confrontation intensifies, North Korea keeps close to traditionally like-minded actors, but Pyongyang may yet diversify their diplomatic options should the opportunity present itself. In the meantime, Russia should use this chance to flesh out our relations with the close neighbor.

The PRC’s Foreign Aid to Developing Countries as a Tool to Protect Chinese Companies’ Investments against Political Risks

Zorikto E. Gomboin

The article is exploring the PRC’s experience in using foreign aid tools to mitigate political risks for its companies’ foreign direct investments in the countries of Global South. The author compares Chinese approach with the Western one, and identifies key exclusive features of China’s efforts towards mitigating risks for its companies. In particular, it has been found that the Chinese state-owned companies (SOEs) are the main proponents of kickstarting foreign aid projects with the aim of mitigating risks. Such projects are often implemented by the contractors from China, and encompass constructing social infrastructure in the recipient country, as a “bonus” to the principal commercial activity. Political risks are mitigated via subsidized loan contract terms, containing serious consequences for the recipient in the event of broadly defined changes in the regulatory regime and force-majeure detrimental to Chinese entities. Chinese SOEs can also protect their investments against the recipient’s harmful actions by prompting the PRC government to stop the foreign aid transfers, or by simply abstaining from proposing new aid projects in the future. The emphasis of political risk mitigation through foreign aid is on the legal-governmental (regulatory) risks, while the extralegal risks, such as terrorist attacks, worker strikes and civil protests, are not directly addressed, which can be explained by the adherence of the PRC to the principle of non-interference in internal affairs.

The Japanese Model of Energy Transition (on the Example of the Introduction of Hydrogen Energy). High Hopes and Modest Prospects

Olesya N. Emelyanova
Denis A. Shcherbakov

Nowadays decarbonization goals are widely discussed at the global level. Hydrogen energy is considered to be a promising alternative for solving this problem, although the economic efficiency of this fuel is still extremely low. Japan is one of the countries that actively promotes hydrogen energy as the government puts the goal to take a huge share of the newly developed market. And Japan is ready to compete for that. The «Basic Energy Plan» adopted in April 2014, officially announced the government’s intention to form a «hydrogen society» in Japan in order to ensure stable energy supply and the implementation of measures against global warming. In December 2020, a «Green Growth Strategy to achieve Carbon Neutrality by 2050» was prepared, which designated hydrogen as a priority industry for energy development.

However, the policy is mainly aimed at developing a variety of projects. Many companies receive government support for the development and implementation of demonstration projects. It is too early to talk seriously about the commercialization of the achieved results.

This article examines the characteristic features of the Japanese approach to the development of hydrogen energy, and also lists those factors that encourage the Japanese government to consider hydrogen fuel so seriously despite the incredibly high cost of its production. The authors will also try to answer the following questions. How much priority does hydrogen have for Japan in the structure of the country’s energy balance? How does the Japanese government plan to develop hydrogen energy in the foreseeable future?

Russian-Mongolian Border: Updating Checkpoints and Strengthening Infrastructure Connectivity

Victoria O. Namzhilova

The article analyzes the changes on the border of Mongolia with Russia and examines the plans of the two states to develop border infrastructure. There is mutual high interest in modernizing checkpoints. On the one hand, Mongolia has identified the recovery of checkpoints as a key direction of the “New Revival Policy” being implemented. On the other hand, in the current geopolitical conditions, Russia pays great attention to the capabilities of land checkpoints in the east. The author emphasizes the high importance of the border crossings Kyakhta — Altanbulag and Naushki — Sukhbaatar, through which not only bilateral trade is carried out, but also transit goods, including containers on the China — Europe route and back. At the same time, the author notes that as road corridors develop on the territory of Mongolia, and in the future also railway ones, the importance of border crossings is expected to increase both along the western section of the Russian-Mongolian border (primarily Tashanta — Tsagaannuur crossing) and eastern (Solovyovsk — Ereentsav crossing). New transport corridors are important to ensure the transit of goods and the growing Russian-Mongolian trade. The importance of the Mongolian vector is growing not only in terms of ensuring the rapid transportation of goods, but also servicing passenger flows across the border — business and cultural ties are intensifying, and cross-border tourism is developing. Analyzing the ambitious infrastructure plans of Mongolia, the author concludes that favorable conditions has been created to strengthen the infrastructural connectivity of the countries, which is a key condition for the establishment of the China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor.

Development of the Video Game Industry in China at the End of the 20th Century

Vitaly G. Shishikin
Denis A. Antonov

The segment of video games in China emerged later than in the West, where the development of a new industry had been ongoing since the early 1970s, transforming from a leisure activity for a select few into one of the leading and successful sectors of the entertainment industry. The reforms initiated by Deng Xiaoping in 1978 led to significant shifts in the socio-economic system of the Chinese state. However, the gaming industry in China began to develop despite opposition of the authorities’ policies and the conservative part of Chinese society. Despite serious ideological and economic barriers, the gaming market in China gradually began to be filled with locally produced technology, which at first may not have been of high quality, but was mass-produced and accessible to a large audience. Illegal copying of goods from foreign companies and firms played an important role, allowing consumers to timely familiarize themselves with the novelties of the global industry, not just with projects from local producers. The widespread distribution of pirated products and China’s connection to the global network in the 1990s led to a large growth in the local virtual entertainment industry, both through the purchase of consoles and home computers and the establishment of internet cafes. The wide popularity of this new industry and its gradual integration with the global gaming industry required government intervention and laid the foundations for regulating this type of entertainment and strengthening ideological control over it by the government.

Politics and Mysticism in the Modern Republic of Korea: Case of Lee Jae-myung

Nataliya A. Chesnokova

In March 2023, the Korean politician, leader of opposition, Lee Jae-myung said that the grave of his parents was desecrated. He explained that several stones with hanjas were allegedly buried near the grave, which should negatively affect the fate and life of Lee himself and his family. It soon became clear that it was a falsification, and the stones were buried, on the contrary, with the consent of Lee Jae-myung and as a guarantee of his successful self-realization. Lee Jae Myung being accused of using a fake to gain attention. He was not the first Korean politician to use the traditional «Korean geography» of pungsu jiri seol in his campaign, but he was the first whose message was so oddly camouflaged. Therefore, the goal of my article is to explain the essence of Lee Jae-myung’s unsuccessful communicative act. In order to do this, at first, I examine the existing precedents in contemporary Korean politics related to spatial representations. Secondly, I look for the difference between the communicative acts of Lee Jae-myung’s predecessors connected with spatial representations and his own. The study is based on historical facts, content analysis of media materials, statistical analysis of Big Data, statements by politicians in the Republic of Korea, the theory of “self-fulfilling prophecy” by Robert Merton, as well as Chinese and Korean philosophies associated with spatial representations. The result of the study is as follows: unlike his predecessors, who emphasized their “chosenness” through spatial representations and manipulated their voters, Lee Jae-myung contrasted traditional spatial representations (the theory of pungsu jiri seol) with shamanism, with which Yoon Suk-yeol, the current president of the Republic of Korea and Lee’s political opponent, is often associated nowadays. Lexical analysis of Lee Jae-myung’s message at the same time shows that the terminology was chosen incorrectly, which caused initial difficulties for the audience in its “deciphering”.

The Primordial Meanings of the New Terminology of the CCP

Artem I. Kobzev

The conceptual and terminological innovations of Xi Jinping’s report at the 20th Congress of the CPC in 2022 and the documents and speeches of the PRC leaders that preceded it, presented as a combination of Marxism with the traditional culture of China, caused a heated debate in Russian sinology. S.N. Goncharov considers them an expression of a sophisticated intellectual strategy, and A.V. Lukin — an opportunistic device of political casuistry. The article provides arguments in favor of the first position. 10 quotations from ancient canons expressing the “wisdom of Chinese civilization” were re-translated, more accurately attributed and analyzed in the report of the Chairman of the People’s Republic of China and it was established that together they represent a rhymed poem reminiscent of the common anthem of the Kuomintang and the Republic of China. The general meaning of this centone is built on the main categories of Chinese thought: “heaven” 天, “man” 人 and “grace” 德. The most important concepts from these “10 commandments” and neologisms based on traditional vocabulary are considered, such as: “culture” 文化, “civilization” 文明, “order and turmoil, flourishing and decrepitude” 治乱兴衰, “change of predestination / revolution” 革命, “transformation by the central state / sinicization” 中国化, “epochalization” 時代化, “great unity” 大同, “small prosperity” 小康, “one-man management community / justice” 公, “advanced method” 提法, “community with a shared future for mankind / community of common destiny for mankind” 人类命运共同体, etc. The metaphysical meaning of the slogan proclaimed in the PRC about “jumping out of historical cyclicality” is revealed and the controversy surrounding the application of the Western concept of “civilization-state” to China and Russia, interested in different components of this ambivalent structure, is analyzed. A general conclusion is made about a qualitative shift in the development of the political vocabulary of the CCP from Marxism to traditional ideology in Confucian design.

Budgetary Systems of the Eastern Russian Regions during the Pandemic Crisis 2020–2021: Territorial Projection

Larisa M. Faleychik

The article presents an analysis of the dynamics of the state and structure of budget revenues and expenses of the Eastern Russian regions during the pandemic period of 2019–2021. Budget analysis was carried out using statistical and empirical research methods based on Federal Treasury data on the execution of the consolidated budgets of the regions of the Russian Federation and the budgets of territorial state extra-budgetary funds.

By the end of 2021, the structure of the revenue side of budgets in most regions had practically recovered to its pre-Covid state. Personal income tax remained one of the most stable sources of income in the eastern regions: even in the first year of the pandemic, almost all regions showed a positive trend in its revenues. It is expected that the contribution of such a source as Taxes, fees and regular payments for the use of natural resources will be significant.

The losses of the budgets’ own revenues in 2020 were compensated for by most regions through intergovernmental fiscal transfers. In 2021, there was a recovery and even an increase in own income relative to 2019, mainly due to tax revenues. However, the positive dynamics of the eastern regions’ own incomes did not reduce their dependence on federal assistance, the scale and directions of growth of which vary greatly by type and region: in some regions its volumes increased, in others they sharply decreased. In the structure of gratuitous assistance, the share of subsidies has decreased and the share of subsidies and other intergovernmental fiscal transfers has increased significantly.

The volume of budget expenditures during the pandemic period increased in almost all regions.

The dynamics in the functional budget expenditures structure in the regions are very different: significant changes occurred in the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, the Jewish Autonomous Region, the Republic of Buryatia, the Trans-Baikal Territory and the Amur Region.

The budget systems of the Eastern Russian regions have demonstrated their viability and stability, which allowed them to withstand the shocks of the pandemic, resist external and internal threats, and increase the filling of budgets with their own sources and, in general, with the help of interbudgetary transfers, fulfill obligations in accordance with their powers.

On the Question of the Polish-Japanese Military Alliance against the USSR in 1922–1939

Alexander G. Zorikhin

The article is devoted to the problem of the existence of a secret Polish-Japanese military agreement, which was allegedly concluded in 1931 and directed against the Soviet Union, which has long been debated in Russian historical science. The first message that Warsaw and Tokyo had concluded a secret military alliance was received by the Soviet military-political leadership through the foreign intelligence of state security agencies, citing a reliable source in March 1932. Information about this was received in Moscow for several more years, so the probability of a simultaneous attack against our country by Japan and Poland was laid by the Soviet General Staff in the plans for the strategic deployment of the Armed Forces up to 1939. However, an analysis of the surviving documents of the Polish and Japanese military authorities indicates that there were no agreements between Warsaw and Tokyo on conducting joint military operations against the Soviet Union. Poland, in the event of a conflict, hoped to rely on military assistance from France and Romania on the basis of interstate agreements of 1921. Japan in 1922–1939 had no allies in Europe, so its operational planning did not provide for the support of a third power, but was based on the principle of elastic defense in the north and west of Manchuria with simultaneous counterattack on the Soviet grouping of troops in the Ussuri Region. Nevertheless, in 1922–1939, the military departments of Warsaw and Tokyo carried out close cooperation in the field of intelligence and counterintelligence, thanks to which a powerful decryption service was created in Japan. In addition, Japanese officers were trained in the Polish army.

The Logic of Circumstances versus the Logic of Intentions: Guan Yu’s Deadly Bet with Zhuge Liang

Andrey A. Krushinskiy

The amazing case of a deadly (albeit only for one of the parties) “bet” between the two central characters of the classic novel “The Three Kingdoms” (Guan Yu and Zhuge Liang) is discussed. The reason for the dispute was an insulting statement to Guan Yu by the famous strategist and skilled diplomat. He suddenly questioned the valiant hero’s loyalty to his military duty (at the critical moment of the upcoming capture of their common enemy at that time in the person of Cao Cao). Guan Yu’s bet in this bet was his own head, and he lost it: Zhuge Liang’s prediction came true. The main thesis of the proposed article is that this foresight cannot be reduced only to the brilliant guess of a clairvoyant sage. According to the author of the article, here we are dealing with an impressive example of predictive deduction (the latter has been repeatedly covered by him in previous publications).

As fate would have it, the “man of honor/justice” 義士 found himself in a painful situation of double loyalty: on the one hand, the burden of obligations arising from the “oath in the peach garden,” which forever bound him with brotherly ties to his named brother Liu Bei, and on the other, generous favors, with which Cao Cao showered him at one time and thereby put him in the position of a debtor.

The priority of the immutable laws of arithmetic, establishing “justice” in its basic quantitative sense of the equality of two quantities (for example, the balance between a gift and a reciprocal gift), over the normativity of verbal obligations was clear to the stratagem-minded Zhuge Liang as daylight. As for the clear vision of the entire layout of the game of giving/gifting between Guan Yu and Cao Cao, it allowed him to calculate with arithmetical certainty the victory of the “logic of circumstances” (outstanding debt to Cao Cao) over the “logic of intentions” (loyalty to the demands arising from the oath of brotherhood).

Linguistic Museums in China: From Local Dialects to the Languages of the World

Olga I. Zavyalova

A kind of “museum boom” across China arose in the summer of 2023 after the end of the pandemic and in the wake of the increased interest of the Chinese in their history, culture and ancient civilization. Museum visitors paid special attention to the local cultures, which are closely connected not only with the languages ​​of the peoples of China, but mostly with the numerous Chinese dialects. As it was officially pointed out in 2017, any varieties of dialect cultures are to be protected, several large-scale surveys of these cultures, along with the surveys of numerous dialects, have been carried out in the recent years. The results of the surveys are represented in a series of scientific publications and on the websites used mostly by the linguists and ethnographers. On the one hand, dialects are generally perceived by the modern educated Chinese as an important symbol of their own identity. On their initiative, a new life of dialects has begun on the Internet. On the other hand, several museums with the audio and video dialect samples have appeared in different regions. The interest of the Chinese authorities, intellectuals and the general public, however, is not limited to the written and spoken diversity of China. The country’s first Museum of World Languages was established by the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Languages in 2019.