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Thursday, 29 October 05:21 (GMT -05:00)

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Does China Oust Russia From Central Asia?

As the situation in Afghanistan is getting worse, this is raising a lot of concerns in the international expert community. The Islamic terrorist threat may spread from there to Russian and China, they say.




According to a Norwegian observer for Dagbladet, there exist 5 countries in Central Asia that can be seen as potential threats to Russia and China. The thing is, the Islamic terrorism may well spread from those countries to their neighbors. They say that Afghanistan is now the biggest potential threat since the amount of armed conflicts in the country are getting more and more frequent and tough. As Taliban (the local terrorist organization) is said to be sponsored and suppled with arm and ammo, the USA seems to be putting the blame for this on Russia.
At the same time, those Central Asian countries are not only the sources of potential terrorist threats. Those are viewed as the region of opportunities. Since the USSR ceased to exist, there have been almost no investments in the region. Those are relatively poor states, which is the key reason why many of the local citizens have been going to Russia in search of well-being as guest workers. Even though there have been paid poorly, they still send most of the income to their countries to sustain their families since in there this is big money unlike in Russia.
However, China has recently become active as well. Now they have been active building he so-called Silk Road connecting China with 60 other countries of the world through railway lines, highways, and seaports. It’s also known as OBOR (One Belt One Road). Central Asia has always been of great interest to China, as well, especially these days. That’s why China seems to be gradually ousting Russia from the region.
In May, China welcomed a summit involving the leaders of Chinese partners, including some of those Central Asian states. It’s not a secret that the Chinese government is trying to make use of their wealth in order to create a new global economy with China in charge and on Chinese terms and conditions. That’s why they have been heavily investing in as many economies as possible. They want to control as much of the global infrastructure as possible.
Once again, in China’s big and ambitious project, Central Asia plays one of the key roles, and there is a number of reasons for that. First of all, Kazakhstan owns substantial oil and gas fields. The second reason is European outlets, the biggest outlets for China. And Central Asia is the region between Europe and China. That’s why local Asian banks already got big-scale loans from China to improve their infrastructure to suit Chinese needs. When it comes to OBOR, China sponsors it without any delay.
Experts say that implementing OBOR will have serious political consequences as well. In particular, Central Asia starts gradually turning from Russia to China. Russia has been the Big Brother for the region ever since the USSR ceased to exist. However, now Russia doesn’t have to financial power to support Central Asia the way China has been doing it. That’s why the Kremlin is concerned that they may lose influence in the region.
President Putin is now trying to save the day for Russia by get those countries involved in some kind of an economic union with Russia. However, the truth is that Russia has no chances to compete with China and win the race. China’s high stance in the region and the world is mostly about generous investments, which Russian cannot afford.


Yet, it’s not only about economics. By investing in Central Asia, China is trying to secure themselves against the terrorist threat coming from Afghanistan and other neighboring states presenting similar risks to China’s Western borders. Most likely, China will manage to implement their ambitious goals.


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