An artillery shelling by North Korea on the South Korean frontline island of Yeonpyeong on 23, November 2010, killing 4 persons including 2 South Korean marines and injuring 18 others.1 This sparked the tension on the peninsular since 1953.2 The South Koreans returned fire with about 80 shells from its own Howitzers.3 The reaction was expected the White House immediately condemned the attack.4 The United States with its 28,000 troops stationed in the region, along with the South Korean prepared for the war games for the vengeance over this deadly attack.5 This attack is followed just 8 months after a North Korean torpedo sank a South Korean warship in far eastern waters killing 46 South Korean sailors.6 China warned against military activity in its exclusive economic zone, ahead of weekend US–South Korean exercises intended as a show of force against Beijing’s ally North Korea.6
In this new Korean crisis, Russia is searching to consolidate its position in the eastern theatre. Russia though condemned the attack on Yeonpyeong Island; but insisted on reducing the tensions between the two after Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Borodavkin’s meeting with the Ambassador of South Korea Lee Youn-ho.7 Russia has recently been struggling economically in the after effects of the global economic crisis.8 In this scenario it will be looking for more investment from South Korean firms whose direct investment reached US$ 1257,2 billion.9 In the meantime it cannot leave its former ally the North Korea also the ally of China with which the Russians have come more closer in the post Soviet era.10
Russia since 1991 is seeking a balance policy towards both Korea. Though bilateral trade between Russia and South Korea has increased which by 2008 has gone up to 22.4% reaching US$ 18.4 billion.11 Kremlin has never ignored its tilt towards North.
Recently it has been observed that Russia is still a power in the world with all its potential, but it has never been able to balance its position vis-a-vis US.As US is wary of growing Chinese influence in the Korean peninsula and the South of South China Sea and ASEAN, Russia too is struggling hard to make its presence in the region.12
In its strategy of regaining its position towards former territories in Central Asia and the Caucasus, it has also become a part of the Russian strategists in the past to make an effort to consolidate its position in the East.13 In the past few years the eastern part of Russia particularly the Siberian region has been a promising land for investors as the area is full of natural and energy which if unlisted can be a boon for the people of this area.14 Though Russia is getting response from China and South Korea in this area, it is also a part of Russian policy to consolidate peace in the region which in case of escalation of war may prove havoc for Russian economy.15
The region’s importance can be analyzed for its presence being felt in the APEC summit in Hanoi.16 The region has been a bone of contention between China and Japan since ancient times, but around World War II it has gained much strategic importance.17
In today’s scenario Russian foreign policy is influenced greatly by its geopolitical imperatives and of its domestic policy.18 Korea is an important region for Russia as it needs a peaceful political settlement as of now Russia cannot afford to divert more funds militarily. As discussed earlier along with North, the South Korea’s closeness to Russia in trade has made it a valuable partner. This is most important for Russia, particularly for its far eastern areas and Siberia. The 1994 Moscow summit between Russia-South Korea was a roof of the begining of a new era for the newly Russian Federation as well as for South Korea which seek Russia as a mediator to some extent in the Korean matter.19