Post-Soviet States of Central Asia in China's Policies

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2019-63-5-101-108

D. Malysheva (,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation 

Abstract. The growing role of China is one of the most notable trends in the modern development of the post-Soviet Central Asia. As a world power the PRC has established close contacts with many other countries and regions in the framework of its global projects (“The Silk Road Economic Belt”, “One Belt, One Road” and more). These projects, which include not only a logistic component, but also infrastructure, industry, trade, services, etc. in the regions where Chinese initiatives are applied, allow Central Asian countries to attract investments that are so necessary for their development and modernization. As far as China is concerned, there are opportunities to expand its economic and political influence in the Central Asian region. A number of multilateral projects and development strategies are linked with “Belt and Road”: the pro-Russian “Eurasian Economic Union”, the Mongolian “Prairie Road”, “Nurly Zhol” of Kazakhstan, “Two Corridors and One Ring” of Vietnam, “Vision 2030” of Saudi Arabia, the Turkish “Middle Corridor Initiative” (which suggests linking China to Europe through Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, the Caspian Sea and Turkey) and other. All this allows the PRC to expand its global and regional positions. This is particularly evident in the regions of South and Southeast Asia. As for the political strategy of China in Central Asia, it is formed by Beijing on the basis of awareness of its national security challenges in the troubled Xinjiang region. Economic and political interests play an important role in positive assessment of the Chinese factor by a significant part of the political elite and representatives of the business community in Central Asian countries, who believe that without attracting foreign investment, using foreign practices and technologies, these states cannot count on qualitative development or improvement of their socioeconomic situation. But if the Central Asian elites consider the PRC primarily as an important economic and political partner, in the public perception, the Chinese factor is often presented as a threat. The development of economic cooperation with Central Asian states can lead to a situation where China, gradually strengthening its presence in this post-Soviet region, builds here a system of its own domination. The “multi-vector” approach also hinders the regional cooperation which is so necessary for the Central Asian countries to become equal partners in different integration projects, including those initiated by such a major global player like China

Keywords: the post-Soviet Central Asia, China, “One Belt, One Road” Initiative, multi-vector policy 


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For citation:
Malysheva D. Post-Soviet States of Central Asia in China's Policies. World Eсonomy and International Relations, 2019, vol. 63, no. 5, pp. 101-108.

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