Turkmenistan sits upon around one-tenth of the world’s proven natural gas reserves. Tajikistan is so poverty-stricken that around half its adult male population is forced to travel abroad in search of work.
When China’s top diplomat visited Kyrgyzstan last month, he heard some bold proposals.
Why, Foreign Minister Wang Yi was asked by Kyrgyz economic officials during his visit to Bishkek on May 22, did Beijing not consider relocating 40 or so manufacturing operations from China to Kyrgyzstan?
EurasiaNet is running a series this week looking at the state of relations between China and the five nations of former Soviet Central Asia. China expert Raffaello Pantucci opens the series with a survey of China’s role in the region.
One topic guaranteed to inflame passions in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan is land and China. China has taken land from Central Asia and farmers from China are already working rented fields in Central Asia and that has not sat well with locals.
For China, the New Year got off to an inauspicious start in the South Caucasus country of Georgia after a Chinese-Georgian consortium failed to win a contract to build a deep-water port on the Black Sea.
The United States has struggled in the post-Soviet era to define a durable framework for its relations with Central Asian states. Initially, securing the Soviet Union’s nuclear legacy was the main focus of US policy. Then, after 9/11, policy was shaped by Washington’s need for Central Asian support for US military operations in Afghanistan.