MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said the country's future depended on Asia and promised to showcase "a nation of opportunities" at this week's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
"Russia has long been an intrinsic part of the Asian-Pacific region," he wrote in an article published in The Wall Street Journal ahead of Russia's hosting the APEC summit in the Far Eastern Russian city of Vladivostok.
"We view this dynamic region as the most important factor for the successful future of the whole country, as well as development of Siberia and the Far East."
"We expect that the upcoming Vladivostok summit will once again demonstrate to the world that Russia is a nation of broad opportunities," Putin wrote.
Putin is expected to give a speech at the high-profile summit that Russia is hosting for the first time and that aims at tearing down trade barriers and promoting integration of APEC's 21 economies.
But for Putin, who supported the idea of hosting the summit in Russia's long neglected Far Eastern port city, it will also be a chance to re-establish the country as an Asia-Pacific power.
The government has invested some $20 billion into Vladivostok, building landmark infrastructure including two suspension bridges, and will be using the summit to boost investment in Russia's Far East.
Russia has "much to offer" as a trade hub, Putin wrote, advertising new Asia-Europe transportation routes through the Far East.
"Such shipments are cost-competitive with the traditional routes through the Strait of Malacca and the Suez Canal," he said.
Russia is ready to open its doors to new trade partners in Asia after creating a free-trade zone with Kazakhstan and Belarus and after gaining membership in the World Trade Organisation, Putin wrote.
A prospective Eurasian Economic Union integrating post-Soviet states, conceived by Putin ahead of the campaign season last year, could "become a bridge between the European Union and the Asia-Pacific region," he wrote.
"Closer integration of economic models... would offer businesses the ability to operate seamlessly across a vast area," he wrote.
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