This week Russia is hosting the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders’ Meeting, hosting 21 Pacific-Rim in its far-eastern port city, Vladivostok.It’s the first time Russia has played APEC Economic Leaders’ host — they’ve been a member since 1999 — and the event offers Russia a chance to impress Asia, something that becomes more and more important as Europe declines.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the host city, Vladivostok. Once one of the Soviet Union’s famous “closed” cities, the eastern port has been seriously neglected for the last 30 years. With a $20 billion helping hand from Moscow, the city has been quickly renovated for visiting guests.
The construction has been quick and somewhat rushed — some delegates may notice their hotel rooms smell of paint.
Others may notice the city only recently built a sewage plant — before that raw sewage had been pumped into the local sea.
Moscow, however, hopes the investment will pay off. Currently less than less than a quarter of Russia's trade is with APEC members.
Russia wants to become a major supplier of natural resources to China, ending its dependence on the troubled European market.
It built its first oil pipeline to China in 2011, but there are doubts about whether Vladivostok really has the infrastructure to support more trade at the moment.
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