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Putin flies to Asian summit to win place for Russia
Updated: 2005-12-11 19:58

MOSCOW, Dec 11 (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin flies to a summit of leaders of major Asian states this week hoping to press his case for Russia to be part of their economic and political integration.

His trip to Malaysia for the December 13-14 Kuala Lumpur East Asian summit, ends a busy year of Asian diplomacy for Russia, disillusioned with its role of outsider in European integration and keen to get on board a similar process in Asia.

"The process of globalisation is beginning to have an Asian look about it," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in his annual foreign policy review. "This makes the fast-developing Asia-Pacific region a top priority for us."

Asian countries are looking to Russia to provide much of the energy for their booming industries.

Russian Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko said last month that by 2020, 30 percent of the country's oil exports would go to Asia compared with the current 3 percent.

Russia's interest in Asia has been growing since mid-1990s, when its dream of becoming an integral part of a larger Europe stumbled over economic and political differences.

Europe has become suspicious of Putin's version of "managed democracy" and the growing state role in Russia's economy.

The Kremlin, in turn, is unhappy about rising NATO and European Union influence in a region where it once held sway.

"Europe creates as many problems for Russia as opportunities it offers," Vremya Novostei daily wrote. "Asia is different ... It shares many values with Russia."

Asian states rarely take Russia to task over its economic and democratic standards.


In July, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) -- which groups Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Iran and the ex-Soviet republics of Central Asia -- gave itself the role of regional security forum.

Later in the year Russia, held major separate military exercises with China and India.
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