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Belarusʹ pivot to Asia – an anti-crisis strategy and a tool for national security ensurance

The world is on the threshold of the Golden Age of Asia

The Belarusian President's speech at the Sixth Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia has already been called powerful, it contains a number of important statements. In particular, Alexander Lukashenko stressed that the time has come for Asia, and it is very important not to miss it.

The advancement of Asia, as well as the general shift of global geopolitics and geo-economics to East and South, is nothing but a reflection of the global trend of the world order reformatting towards multipolarity. The Asia-Pacific region (APAC) has become the main the arena for East-West competition, which determines its geopolitical significance. The most striking markers of the processes are the conflict in Ukraine, as well as China – United States, United States – Russia confrontations.

The situation, in fact, is going back to historical norm of 200-300 years ago, in particular, to the renaissance of the East, which is obviously tired of the neocolonial dictatorship of the West. And if рistory is tending to repeat itself, then the upcoming centuries will most likely pass under the sign of the "Asian century". The world has changed and will not be the same, as it happens after any shocks.

The potential of Asian countries in the development of the world economy can be illustrated as follows. Asia-Pacific is the home for about 4.2 billion people, which is about 60 percent of the world's population. Based on Financial Times estimates, at current exchange rates, Asia accounts for 38 percent of global GDP Compare: in 2000 — 26 percent. Following Knight Frank consultancy founded in London, by 2025, Asia will be home to 24 percent of the richest people in the world, whose wealth is estimated at $30 million and above. The assets of the 20 richest clans in Asia have grown by $33 billion since the end of 2020. Their combined wealth exceeds $495 billion, which is more than the GDP of Hong Kong or Singapore. The capitalization of only three Chinese stock exchanges is $20 trillion, the assets of the banking system are more than $50 trillion.

In the pandemic 2020, the digital economy of Southeast Asia grew by $100 billion. At the same time, the "Asian tigers" — Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines — showed a year on year rise by 20 to 30 percent, and Indonesia and Vietnam - by 40 percent. By 2025 this figure is forecasted to exceed $360 billion, and by 2030 – a trillion dollars.

However, even such figures do not express in full the real resource potential of Asia, which can safeguard the economic future of Belarus.

From the point of view of Belarus' national interests, the pivot to Asia is not just a choice, but an anti-crisis strategy and a tool to ensure national security by diversifying exports to growing Asian markets and gaining access to a resource base free from external pressure. Although it should be understood that these markets have their peculiarities and rules of the game, often confusing and frustrating, which must be understood and accepted. Belarus' choice of such a strategy is logical and justified. At the same time, it involves the development of dialogues and partnerships not only with the countries of Asia, but also the Middle East, as well as Africa and Latin America.

A crisis is always an opportunity, though not risk-free. It is important to increase the Belarusian presence in Asian countries. We can say that the political go-ahead at the level of the Head of State is given. Now, we need to be more active. It is important to rely primarily on our own strength and resources, to move away from any mono-dependence, and to create multi-vector foreign economic relations in the Asian states.

At the same time, illusions and inflated expectations should be avoided. Asia is not a golden fish. No one will give anything for nothing, and benefits will not fall from the sky. There is a long way and painstaking work ahead. The time has come for Asia. And еhe time has chosen us. This is the historical moment of truth.