【Gコミ学科】渡邊 頼純教授が『NHK World』に出演・コメント：ロシア・ウクライナ情勢について
2022年3月4日、本学・国際コミュニケーション学部 渡邊 頼純学部長が『NHK World』にZoomで出演し、経済の観点から、ロシア・ウクライナ情勢についてコメントしました。
▽2022.3.4 『NHK World』
News「Expert View: China is Key to Russia's Economic Isolation」
⇒ It seems that sanctions by the Western allies are pounding on the Russian economy quite seriously and the magnitude of the various punitive measures has been gradually increasing and affecting not only the inner circle of President Putin, often called the "Oligarchy" but also vast majority of Russian people. Earlier on, the EU listed 27 people and entities on a list of restrictive measures, Those sanctions started to target the political elites including Mr. Putin himself and his close colleagues such as Mr. Lavrov, Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, Mr. Anton Vaino, chief of staff in Putin's presidential executive office, and Sergei Shoigu, Defence Minister. The US also imposed sanctions against Nord Stream 2, the company overseeing the construction of a gas pipeline from Russia to the EU. German Chancellor Scholz suspended the completion of the construction of the pipeline upon return from his trip to Moscow.
The western allies are intensifying the sanctions after Russian troops finally invaded Ukraine on February 24. The US joined the EU's decision to freeze the personal assets of Mr. Putin and Mr. Lavrov, stressing that it was extremely rare case to have assets of head of state frozen.
Moreover, the EU has decided to exclude 7 Russian banks from the inter-bank telecommunication system known as the SWIFT, including the second largest bank VYB mainly involved in trade-related payment transactions. It was the largest sanction ever that the EU has so far conducted. It is interesting to note, however, that the biggest Russian bank SBER Bank escaped from being enlisted. It has been reportedly said that it was a deliberate decision to keep SBER Bank available for financial transactions of natural gas payment by Euro as the US has already prohibited to use US dollar for such transactions. As more than 55% of export-import transactions are being done in US dollar and roughly 20% of Russian savings are denominated in foreign currencies, the exclusion of those Russian banks from the SWIFT system will have serious consequences after all.
In addition to the financial restrictions mentioned above, the exodus of western companies from Russia accelerated, with Boeing halting main operations, including parts and maintenance for Russian airlines. Boeing joined a growing list of suspensions that includes Apple, ExxonMobil, BMW, Ford, Siemens, and Nike. Japanese auto companies such as Honda and Toyota also suspended their sales in Russia and Toyota has decided to stop production in Saint Petersberg, Mr. Putin's hometown. Widely expanding sanctions by the West are now drastically affecting the civilian life and driving it to a considerable devastation of national economy of Russia.
⇒ Sanctions are double-edged swords having souring effects on the foe but, in return, affect also adversely the own side. The EU is dependent on Russian natural gas supply by roughly 40%. Germany, the most important locomotive of the EU economy is the biggest customer to Russia, followed by Italy, the second largest importer of the gas. Germany, in particular, has already given up the nuclear plant after Fukushima accident in 2011, has little choice as the country has been leaning very sharply to green eco-state. Neither newly opened natural gas supply from the US nor precipitated development of renewable energies would be good enough to offset the missing Russian gas. As the Green Party is a part of the coalition government of Germany, it will not be easy to change the course of carbon-neutral energy policy of the country leaving very few options to the political leadership.
⇒ Alarm over the conflict pushed oil prices even further above $100 with Brent crude, the international bench mark, hitting an eight-year high of $113. It will send another shock wave of inflation pushing up the import prices and import-led cost push inflation will be prevailing particularly in vulnerable developing countries. Those countries might be tempted to protect domestic producers by raising import barriers and it will lead to "my country first" approach fueling the protectionist sentiment here and there.
⇒ Beijing said it was "extremely concerned about the harm to civilians" in comments on March 1st that followed a telephone conversation between Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, and his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba. The Chinese statement mentioned that Ukraine is willing to strengthen communications with China and looks forward to China playing a role in realising a ceasefire.
China abstained at the voting in the UN General Assembly without indicating whether Beijing accepted Russia's claim to the Crimean peninsula or shared its recognition of separatists in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. It only mentioned that China respects "the territorial integrity of all countries". The statement marked a change in tone from Beijing which in the days before the invasion had described the US as the "culprit" in the Ukraine crisis. The shift in Beijing's position was made as Putin's force intensified a missile bombardment on Ukrainian cities including Kiev. It is rather clear that only Xi Jinping, the Chinese President, would be in a position to talk both to Putin and to Zelensky. The on-going tragedy in Ukraine might be a timely opportunity for China to perform a world leadership even making-up the conflictual relationship with the US.