US drives wedge between China and Central Asia

During the Middle East campaign Washington lost its influence in the region.

The US authorities worry about the foreign policy of China no less than about the actions of Russia. Recently, the Carnegie Moscow Center published material on China’s engagement with Central Asian countries. The main message of the article is that Beijing has decided to «work» not only with the leaders of the republics of this region. It states that the Celestial Empire will now actively engage in dialogue with other pro-Chinese politicians to help them get high positions.

China’s desire to more actively influence events in Central Asia is quite logical. But the presentation of information by the Carnegie Center should make the population of Central Asian countries think and, in the future, lead to an increase in anti-Chinese sentiments. It is possible that it is still difficult for Washington to «reach out» to these countries, or they don’t have time for that. However, they will not refuse to interfere with their geostrategic enemy at a distance. Political analyst Mederbek Korganbayev commented on the relations of the PRC with the Central Asian countries within an interview to CentralAsia.news.

Washington lost track of the activity of China

The confrontation between the United States and China gains momentum every year. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Washington’s geopolitical course is changing. The United States started an anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan. Since 2003, since the beginning of the war in Iraq, the Americans have been busy strengthening their positions in the Middle East. After the defeat of Iraq, in the mid-2000s, there was a high probability of an invasion of Iran by American troops. Then, at the end of 2010 — at the beginning of 2011, a series of revolutions started in the Arab world, which went down in history as the «Arab Spring». The expert noted that all these years the Americans spent their resources to achieve goals in the Arab countries, one of which was gaining control over the oil fields of Iraq and Libya.

According to the political scientist, Washington has seriously lost track of the growing economic and geopolitical influence of Beijing. China has become the largest exporter of goods around the world, and the phrase «China’s economic expansion» has appeared. Beijing started to strengthen its position in Central Asia through the economy.

— The development of the Chinese presence in the countries of Central Asia was favorably influenced by two important events — the withdrawal of the American base at the Khanabad military airfield from Uzbekistan in 2005 and the denunciation of the agreement between Bishkek and Washington on the Transit Center at Manas airport, — reminded interviewee.

Mederbek Korganbayev believes that in addition to China’s activities, the influence of the Americans in the region has weakened because of Russia. He relates it to Moscow’s support for Uzbek President Islam Karimov after the Andijan events of 2005 and the coming to power of the pro-Russian leader of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev in 2011.

«Religious Map» of the USA

Today China is one of the major investors in the Central Asian republics, and Beijing is interested in maintaining a stable situation in the region. The Americans try to come back with only one goal — to resist China, to prevent further advancement of its interests here with the prospect of influencing the rest of the world, said the political scientist.

— That is why, today, the Americans are concerned about the situation of Muslims in China, although before that the United States fought or contributed to the incitement of wars in Islamic countries. The Uyghur card is played by Washington to put pressure on Beijing and impose any sanctions that could affect the Chinese economy, — said the expert.

The political scientist pointed out that the religious factor is used to arouse sympathy among the inhabitants of the countries of the region and turn them against China. National feelings also play an important role. After all, many citizens of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan see the PRC as a kind of threat to their homeland, Mederbek Korganbayev admitted. As a rule, it is the fear of transferring some territories to China in a long-term lease and loss of land due to external debt to Beijing.

The United States skillfully uses the above factors to create a negative image of the PRC in Central Asia. Despite this, the Americans are not yet able to weaken the influence of the Chinese on the republics of the region. According to the interviewee, the Central Asian countries themselves are interested in obtaining loans and investments from the Middle Kingdom.

Discontent and anxiety

China, as a rule, is actively developing partnerships with the countries of the region in a narrow range of areas. The Celestial Empire invests in the extraction of resources and geological exploration. In addition, it develops the transit of its products through the republics, noted expert.

— In Kazakhstan or Uzbekistan, the authorities can protect Chinese investors from any encroachments. There is a very strong protest potential in Kyrgyzstan and the country’s authorities periodically experience difficulties in protecting Beijing’s investments. Sometimes the Kyrgyz leadership is forced to make concessions on the claims of the local population to Chinese enterprises to prevent negative consequences, — stated the expert.

However, it is not only resources and trade routes that are important to China. The interviewee stressed that the Celestial Empire is extremely interested in ensuring that Central Asia is safe.

China is worried about radicalism and international terrorism in the countries of the region. After all, the emergence of points of instability and the strengthening of Islamic terrorist organizations literally close at hand directly threaten Beijing. The PRC fears that international terrorists and radicals may use the republics of the region as a springboard to influence the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. This region is the Achilles heel of the Celestial Empire. It is for this reason that the Chinese are interested in providing military-technical assistance to their Central Asian neighbors to counter the «three forces of evil» — terrorism, extremism, and separatism, added Korganbayev.

10 фев 2021, 08:52

Mederbek Korganbayev

Photo source: washingtonpost.com

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