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.
It was not too long ago that Gazprom, the state-controlled energy conglomerate, was one of the Kremlin’s most potent geopolitical weapons. But those days now seem like a distant memory: Gazprom is a financial shadow of its former self.
The David and Goliath struggle between Almaty and Beijing to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games comes to its conclusion on July 31 as the delegates of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) meet in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to decide who will win the right to host the Games.
China, the world’s largest economy, has set its eyes on Georgia, a traditional gateway between Asia and Europe, and its investment power could transform the poverty-stricken South Caucasus country’s prospects, some observers believe.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s state visit to China later this month is intended to show that Turkey, as an international power, has interests well beyond its western alliances. But Ankara’s strong backing of China’s Uighur Muslim minority clouds the prospects for Turkish-Chinese relations.