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2015 North-Pacific Harmony Conference


KaiserMelech Mikhail
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Over the coming days, another note would be sent to the Russians, stating that the Japanese Empire would send as its representant Akasaka-Panina Eriko, a young diplomat and hāfu from Toyohara. Akasaka-Panina would be given considerable authority to negotiate agreements, and Hatsuharu Kenji, a young Japanese Army intelligence officer was to accompany her, in order to serve as advisor on security matters.

 

Not Public

 

While the Prime Minister was busy and Minister of Foreign Affairs Nakamichi was touring the Americas, Akasaka-Panina who was the daughter of a local ethnic Russian businessman and the daughter of the local governor Akasaka Eiji. Thus, while the Russian minority in Karafuto was politically insignificant in Tokyo, Akasaka Panina still held enough ties to industry and conservative elite to manage a career in the diplomatic corps at a young age, due to her grandfather's influence. Yet, while family ties secured her a post, the Akasaka name still was tied to Karafuto Prefecture, one of the most rural places of the country and it was thus unsurprising that for most conservatives, she was a mixed-blood outsider, for most liberals she was just in her office due to nepotism and her career would not advance, unless she could show results. Results she hoped to make in this great opportunity, given the importance of the Northern Frontier for Japan.

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Secretary Wei and Ms. Akasaka-Panina would be given official invitations to the meeting, slated to begin Thursday morning, with special festivities for Chinese New Year slated for the evening.

 

(Feel free to post your arrivals so we can get this thing started on time)

Edited by KaiserMelech Mikhail
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The plane would be directed to land on a side-runway at Marscury International Airport.  At a remote strip of tarmac, a set of stands stood empty and banners written in several languages blew violently in the fierce wind.  An elaborate welcoming ceremony was planned, but had to be scrapped at the last moment due to a weather system moving out of Siberia bringing in heavy winds and dangerous cold.  Instead, the staff were ushered into waiting cars and driven into the city to their arrangements.  The group would be staying in the Yevreyskiy Palace, the residency of the republic head and the oldest building in the city, dating back to the reign of Tsar Alexander I.  Ushered out of the cars and into the foyer of the palace, the group was welcomed by republic head Roman Abramovich.

 

"Excellency," one of the staffers in the Russian group said, "may I introduce to you Eriko Akasara-Panina and her military attache, Kenji Hatsuharu."

 

"Konichiwa Ms. Akasara-Panina, Mr. Hatsuharu," Roman said, bowing slightly to his guests, "I am Roman Arkedyevich Abramovich, Head of the Marscurian Republic, and official representative to this conference of His Imperial Majesty, Tsar Mikhail Alexandrovich Romanov, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias."  Roman motioned to a group of women in traditional Russian outfits who walked over carrying a large silver platter covered in a rushnik.  On the plate was a large loaf of braided bread and a bowl of salt, which was then offered to the Japanese delegates.  Once all the guests had taken their food, Roman took some of the bread and salt and proceeded to escort the group to their accommodations.  

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"Zdrávstvujde Mr. Abramovich. Thank you for receiving us.", Akasaka-Panina said, as the sole one of the delegation to be even able to pronounce the Russian greeting properly, the rest silent, given they failed already horribly while trying in preparation for the visit. They would all then proceed to take some bread and salt and bow slightly out of gratitude, while awaiting what happened next.

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The Imperial Delegation would take their seats at the delegation, being especially frosty faced towards the Mascurians, who would always seek their approval but never get it.  Naturally their bags would be filled with modern toiletries, potable water, and other things never present in Mascuria.

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The first day of the conference opened with a large breakfast.  Large bowls of kasha steamed around the table, plates of bagels and bowls of cream cheese were available to all, and tea was served out of an authentic samovar, which was delivered straight from Moscow specially for this event (along with a disturbingly well-read copy of the The Protocols of the Elders of Zion).  

 

The topic of the day was economics and how to increase trade between Russia and her neighbors.  Pamphlets were handed out showing major trade routes, investment levels, goods exchanged, and trade surpluses and deficits.  

 

"Comrades," Roman Abramovich said, addressing the foreign diplomats, "trade, more than anything, holds the world together.  If you want stability, the best way to achieve this is to push for greater economic integration.  Already, our nations are tied by a tight trade network, with Russia largely exporting raw materials and importing manufactured goods.  We'd like to see if we can find ways to increase this cooperation with things like free trade agreements, increased investment opportunities, improved shipping networks and customs facilities, and the like.  This is something we can all agree on, da?"

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Although the Japanese thought well of the idea of tea, most were a bit surprised when given Russian Caravan tea that was quite different from the usual macha they were used to. But it was a minor matter, which they hi with a polite smile, just like Akasaka-Panina politely hid her sarcastic amazement that anyone in Russia was still reading the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, when it was pretty obvious who had a say in this country... and who had not. And unless Russia in general was this poor, the Jews were definitely on the latter side.

 

When the question came to trade, the Japanese did however quickly stop politely smiling their way through the meeting, as akasaka-Panina quickly pointed out. "Abramovich-san, trade between Tianxia and Japan is quite high indeed, they are our largest trading partner. But the trade between our Empire and Russia is hardly worth mentioning. As far as I am aware, the border across Sakhalin has been closed since at least the detonations of two nuclear warheads that destroyed your Pacific Fleet and relations are... well... underwhelming. If I may say so, I do not think that your 'tight trade network' is matching with the cold relations that exist between our countries. And which are a bit of a barrier to any free trade agreements."

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"Miss, you are correct in your assertions of the current state of Russo-Japanese relations," Abramovich said, flipping on a powerpoint projector, "but let's look at the realities of economic necessity.  In order to keep your manufacturing up to speed, you need materials.  You need iron, manganese, and coal to make steel, which are mined in the Far East.  You need aluminum to make airplanes, which is supplied in the Urals.  You need petroleum and natural gas for electricity, fuel, and synthetics, which are harvested in large quantities in Siberia.  Zinc, tin, molybdenum, copper, lead, arsenic, the list goes on and on.  And then there's food.  Wheat, beef, fish, fruits and vegetables of all kinds, all available.  Isn't it in the best interests of the Japanese people to allow this into your nation where it is needed?"

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"There is no doubt, Russia does have plenty of natural ressources... but do we need them?", Akasaka-Panina replied, wondering how to get the point across to Abramovich. "Our Empire has trade connections with Tianxia, the Asia-Pacific and the Americas, which it upheld for decades and which supply us with goods. There is no reality of economic necessity, merely the possibility that trade with Russia could diversify our sources for raw materials and improve our supply quality. But as long as there's little guarantee for the security of our Northern border, the current state of affairs in trade relations is preferable to the prospect of becoming dependent on raw materials from an nfriendly source."

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"Bozhe moi," Roman muttered under his breath, "Yapontsy delayut vse slozhno."

 

"Erico," he said, forcing a wide smile, "I think we're past formalities at this point.  Business is the only security you need for business to continue.  Wars cut trade, and are obviously bad for business, and so there would be no benefit for either party to damage bilateral relations, da?  Now, you need us.  Russia has three times the manganese reserves of China, we have higher petroleum reserves than China, we have larger natural gas reserves than China, we have larger iron ore reserves than China, we have larger coal reserves than China, we have larger gold reserves than China, we have larger silver reserves than China, we have more forests than China, we have larger fisheries than China, we export more wheat than China, we export more corn than China, we do everything more than China!  It's all right there, all for the taking!  What possible reason could your country have to refuse to sign a little piece of paper that makes it easier to move all this stuff around?!  In case you hadn't noticed, America has fallen apart, and the dregs of nations that crawled out that the rubble need everything they pull out of the ground to rebuild themselves.  Our esteemed friends from the south have their own economy to worry about, and must shunt their resources to feeding their own furnaces and factories.  Da... da, you need us, because only we can provide the security necessary."  

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Akasaka-Panina sighed. Was it that hopeless? "Our Empire does not care whether you produce more. We care whether someone produces enough to sell us and whether they can provide us with secure and stable trade relations. As it is, the trade with Tianxia is going well, especially in higher quality consumer goods and electronics, something your country doesn't offer that much." The last export in that regard Akasaka-Panina remembered was Tetris. And while it was a hit, there wasn't really all that much otherwise to trade. "Meanwhile, you may claim the Americas require all their ressources themselves, but as you correctly analysed, the Americas have economically collapsed and are facing drastic recession of sorts. I do doubt that their reduced productivity will require as many ressources as it did before and while the reconstruction may end up reviving the demand, such too will provide Japan with investment opportunities. Abramovich-san, feel free to flaunt your mineral riches and claim that trade is all the security we need, but I have been instructed by my government at home to inform you, if such be necessary, that the Japanese Empire has no interest in establishing trade relations with a country where we feel that such would potentially give you leverage over our Empire. So, while trade per se with you may be advantagous, as long as the peace between our two nations is not secured, I am not going to sign any free trade agreement."

Edited by Evangeline Anovilis
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"Forgive me, madame." said a voice from behind the door. It was a cold voice, completely devoid of emotion or intonation. His voice reeked of privilege, but his accent was distinctly non-russian, perhaps from western Europe. "I was not aware peace did not exist between our two nations"

 

The door opened wide and revealed a young, unassuming figure in a black suit with short, black, brushed back hair. He was easily recognizable to anyone in Russia as Mikhail III, Russia's tsar. He looked north African or perhaps south European. His golden brown eyes darted across the room as if to take measure of all in attendance. He strode into the room glanced at Abramovich, nodded and stood to the right of where the man sat. "My apologies if you feel hostility toward Russia, but even you must admit that is your shortcoming not ours. We have tried to support Japan's interests internationally, or at least not interfere. I had hoped your leaders would see this meeting would be an olive branch." he said as he casually sat down in an unoccupied chair.

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Finally the long silent Imperial Representative rose.  "Ah Czarinovich Justiniograd Romanov, what a pleasure to see you sir.  I see you've come to enjoy the most excellent show of nationalism by our friends here.  I hope you can find time after your long trip across the continent to join me for a brandy and cigar when we are done with this meeting.  Surely matters of nationalism and finance deserve a good laugh and a drunken toast lest we start taking it as matters of life and death."

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"Your Imperial Highness must have misunderstood." Akasaka-Panina countered, trying to not show too much rudeness towards the foreign head of state. "Our Empires are currently at peace, but even if such peace exists, our country views it as rather fragile and is thus unwilling to enter into any free trade agreements with Russia. I have already multiple times pointed out that Tokyo wishes for more measures to secure the peace beyond trade, but Abramovich-san was very ardent in that such was not necessary and ignored this matter pretty much. Thus, given you yourself are present, I would like to address the issue which our Empire thinks is most prudent to be settled, which is that we would propose a non-aggression treaty, as well as establish an understanding between our states, so as to avoid any tensions from arising and allow for cooperation in Trans-Pacific trade."

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Finally the long silent Imperial Representative rose.  "Ah Czarinovich Justiniograd Romanov, what a pleasure to see you sir.  I see you've come to enjoy the most excellent show of nationalism by our friends here.  I hope you can find time after your long trip across the continent to join me for a brandy and cigar when we are done with this meeting.  Surely matters of nationalism and finance deserve a good laugh and a drunken toast lest we start taking it as matters of life and death."

Mikhail nodded his head and reclined in his seat, "Yes, my friend, it has been too long. When our business here is concluded we should have a drink."

 

"Your Imperial Highness must have misunderstood." Akasaka-Panina countered, trying to not show too much rudeness towards the foreign head of state. "Our Empires are currently at peace, but even if such peace exists, our country views it as rather fragile and is thus unwilling to enter into any free trade agreements with Russia. I have already multiple times pointed out that Tokyo wishes for more measures to secure the peace beyond trade, but Abramovich-san was very ardent in that such was not necessary and ignored this matter pretty much. Thus, given you yourself are present, I would like to address the issue which our Empire thinks is most prudent to be settled, which is that we would propose a non-aggression treaty, as well as establish an understanding between our states, so as to avoid any tensions from arising and allow for cooperation in Trans-Pacific trade."

 

The tsar's gaze fixated on the Japanese woman's. He sensed distrust in her, possibly even contempt. Contempt for him or for Russia? He wondered. he did not know whatever it was that made the Japanese so hostile toward his country. Perhaps envy of Russia's position as a great power? Jealousy? Not likely, he thought. As Japan's imperial ambitions grew and Russia's power waned it was only natural that the two countries would become rivals. Yet if a non-aggression treaty would help diffuse the tension then he saw no other choice. He made his eyes meet hers. "If that will give your people peace of mind," he said, his fingers steepled, "Then Russia is will agree to a non-aggression treaty with your country."

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"That would be quite reassuring indeed.", Akasaka-Panina responded, quite relieved that the Tsar seemed more cooperative and capable than Abramovich. "We would suggest a Non-Aggression Pact between our two countries, for a duration of ten years, before being reviewed, so as to promote peace along our mutual border and to foster some trust between our countries. Japan has no intention to cause Russia harm, but we do like our Northern border to be secure, and I'm hopeful a lasting agreement with us will not be without value, given your ongoing troubles in the Western areas of your vast Empire. I'd think that unless you request one, there be no cancellation clause in the treaty, except after the treaty runs out or in case one of our countries changes the territorial status quo in the Northern Pacific, whereupon the other party be allowed to cancel the treaty. Japan as a nation has no intention of expanding its borders, but should any concerns exist regarding this, I think this should prevent any concerns. If such an agreement be acceptable, we can proceed to establish greater economic ties too."

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Mikhail leaned forward, his fingers still steepled. "That sounds reasonable," He said. A thought crossed his mind when she mentioned securing the northern border. He was curious what that meant. Overall the tsar left the day-to-day running of the country to politicians and bureaucrats, but he received daily reports and offered his counsel to the Prime Minister daily. He wanted to know why the Japanese government was so cold toward Russia. "However I must ask you one thing. What does your government have against us that makes you feel so much distrust toward us?" He asked bluntly.

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"Our relations have been traditionally strained and Japanese public, especially in our northern regions are vary that there could be possible conflict at some point of time. It is our due hope that such distrust will die down over time, as peace holds and trade ensures.", Akasaka-Panina stated in a dry matter-of-fact way. While she was aware of the crude outline of Japanese policy towards Russia, the things which she knew were hardly to be disclosed to the Russians and most likely the government in Tokyo had a fair number of additional reasons to follow such a policy.

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"Which with due respect should be given transparency." the Tianxia representative chimed in.  "Transparency for positions is important if we are to look to a prosperous and secure Pacific Region.  Our governments should be looking towards introducing CBMs and transparency, not resorting to secrecy.  For us, Japanese hostility and secretiveness only serves to degrade our own relationship, and ability to trust the ability of Japan to communicate openly and honestly on a range of issues.  

 

There really should be no security concerns in East Asia, as there is sufficient military and economic power to force any aggression swiftly to the negotiating table.  That said aggression would set everyone back tremendously.  I would think it best if we all showed our cards rather than half assed measures.  I'll go first."

 

He turned towards Mikhail.  "Frankly, the assessment of our government is that Russia is weak and disorganized.  It cannot reliably muster any power much beyond its own borders with three different military structures.  However, the Czar's word is also trustworthy and Russia occupies the preeminent Geographic position on Eurasia.  While Tianxia could easily claim this for ourselves its a lot of snow and moose shit covered real estate we don't want.  Therefore we'd like to buy your natural resources and keep your security services above the water to act as a buffer to prevent anyone else from being able to ever challenge Tianxia's position as the military hegemon."

 

He then turned towards the Japanese representative, "And you.  Japan is a fraternal nation, a little brother, but it seems like its impatiently butting in line and has alternative motives.  Act nice and speak honestly, but also respect others and their place in the world.  We're a system, we can't all bend it to our will.  So smile and chillax."

 

Finally he turned to Roman Abramovich, "And you you smell like turnips and onions, take a god damn shower."

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"Mou... mendokusai...", the Japanese envoy muttered, given that the Tianxians seemed to poke further. Then she started slightly annoyed. "As far as our point of view is concerned, Russia is less weak than just inefficient in certain regards, and hard to read at times. Which causes concern for many northern Japanese who live close to the border."

 

"Tianxia has been our main trade partner and guarantor of security, though in recent times we are working towards our own security, which however does not diminish the importance of Tianxia with its vastly greater ressources in most regards and the positive image most of our people have of it."

 

Lastly, she just looked at Abramovich, holding back the greater part of harsh words she had for him, just muttering angrily to herself. "Why do you even have to exist..."

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