Central Asian heads of state depart China following the first China-Central Asia summit. China is expected to have advanced its
Central Asian heads of state depart China following the first China-Central Asia summit.
China is expected to have advanced its influence in Central Asia, capitalising on Russia’s current focus on the war in Ukraine. Discussions likely focused on economic and security partnerships in the region, which both China and Central Asian nations view as mutually beneficial.
Central Asian leaders, traditionally reliant on Russia, are looking to China as an alternative that may offer more stability. With Russia’s attention focused westward on Ukraine, its influence in the area in weakening. Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev emphasised “eternal friendship to China” to Chinese media shortly before departing for the meeting.
Going forward, China appears to be attempting to solidify its position as a viable alternative to the G7, who are also holding meetings this week. Leaders are likely to have discussed potential railway lines connecting China to Kyrgystan and Uzbekistan, and a natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan. Both infrastructure projects could see economic benefits for Central Asia, with several nations keen to tap into the Chinese market. China will likely take a more central role in emphasising regional stability following the foreign minister’s meeting with Pakistan and Afghanistan counterparts in Islamabad.
Closer ties between China and Central Asia are likely to be met with disappointment from Russia, who has recently enjoyed China’s close support in the face of western sanctions.