Beware the bear in the Pacific

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By Steve Raaymakers*

In 2007, I was invited by the United Nations to address a regional conference on multilateral cooperation in Pacific Rim ocean governance. The conference was hosted by the Admiral Nevelskoy State Maritime University in Russia’s Far Eastern city of Vladivostok, which lies closer to Darwin than to Moscow.

Arriving on a two-hour flight from Tokyo, itself only seven-hours from my home in Cairns, I was struck by the beauty of the thickly forested hills surrounding the city, spread around the shores of the sparkling Peter the Great Gulf and flanked by Russky Island. On a latitude similar to the Californian coast north of San Francisco, Vladivostok is often referred to as Russia’s ‘potential bay city’.

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