Dynamics and Strengthening of Central Asia-China Relations

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One of the main actors with which the Central Asian states, which follow a multi-vector foreign policy, have established strong relations is China. While Beijing’s economic and technological capacity is of great importance for Central Asia; It is known that deepening regional relations bring important gains. In addition, in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative and the Middle Corridor, the regional states, which offer China a safe and stable route to open up to the West, transform their geopolitical positions into geoeconomic and geostrategic gains.

Another dynamic of the realtions established between the parties is shaped by the strong economic bond. Because, as it is known, there are important underground riches in Central Asian states. China is one of the world’s most important raw material importer states. For example, resources such as oil and natural gas provide economic income to the Central Asian states; it also offers an important guarantee in terms of energy security to China, which wants to make its development sustainable.

On the other hand from both enery and geopolical perspective, it is known that Russia also exports various resources to China. While some of these resources are exported through Power of Siberia; some of them are sent via Central Asia. At this point, regional states increase their economic gains thanks to geopoliticial advantages; it turns into a region where two actors unite on common interests.

It is known that Central Asia recently increase its relations on a global basis. In particular the interest of states such as European countries, India, Japan and South Korea to Central Asia has increased. This situation makes the geopolitical position and resources of the region more valuable. Therefore, for China, which wants to maintain its influence in Central Asia, which has turned into a center in Eurasia, it becomes essential to strenghten relations.

In addition to these, Centreal Asia has a strategic importance in terms of security. The threat posed by radical and separatist groups in the region, especially in Afghanistan, poses a challenge to China’s investments and policies. Moreover, security problems in the region threaten and disturb China as well as every state. At this point, solving the problems of Central Asia has a crucial role in eliminating threats and preventing their spread.

In this regard, there has been a intensification in China’s relations with the Central Asian states in the recent period. The steps towards strengthening the relations that started after the Russia-Ukraine War and Taiwan Crisis gained momentum during the meeting of Chinese President Xi Jinping with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. Xi, invited leaders of the states of the region to the C+C5 (China+Central Asia/China) Summit in May 2023.[1]

While Xi’s call is an important agenda topic in world and regional politics; various contacts regarding the visit are also ongoing. For this purpose, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, Kazakhstan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Murat Nurtleu, Foreign Minister of Kyrgyzstan Jeenbek Kulubaev, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan Sirojiddin Muhriddin, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan Bahtiyor Saidov and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Vepa Hajiyev came together. These names came together to “make full political preparations” for the first leaders’ summit to be held in China. In his statement, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning stated that the topics to be discussed during the meeting will be cooperation between the parties and international and regional issues.[2]

Bilateral and multilateral relations were discussed at the VI. China-Central Asia Foreign Ministers Meeting and meetings held on April 26-27, 2023. Among the topics that came to the fore in the bilateral meetings were issues such as permament friendship, mutual trust, common future, strategic partnership, mutual benefit, development ant creation of a security community. On this basis, a will has been put forward to further the relations. In addition, Qin stated that they will support Central Asian countries on sovereignty, independence, security and territorial integrity and that communication between the parties will be increased through the United Nations (UN) and Shangai Cooperation Organization (SCO).[3]

When the relations are viewed from a multilateral perspective, the statement of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the meeting gives important clues.  Noting that good neigbourliness is mutually beneficial, the statement draws attention to the fact that a balancing dynamic is created for regional peace and development. Moreover, while the net 30 years of relations are defined as “the golden age”; it was emphasized that relations will be maintained on issues such as strong cooperation, furthering cooperation within the scope of Belt and Road Initiative, deepening cultural relations and terrorism, separatism and extremism. In the statement, it was stated that the parties would pay attention to each other’s sensitivies, and important issues such as opening Chinese cultural centers in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, cooperation with Tajikistan on industrial parks, and accelerating the feasibility studies of the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan Railway were also discussed.[4]

In this context, China has clearly demonstrated through the meeting that it wants to strenghten its relations with the Central Asian states. During the relations that the parties will strenghten within the framework of mutual interest and respect, Beijing administration will actively use the dynamics of its relations with the Central Asian states. In this context, it is understood that China significantly determines the means that can affect the Central Asian states in accordance with its own interests. As a result,

[1] “Xi Invites C.Asian Leaders to First Summit in China”, Zawya,, (Date of Accession: 28.04.2023).

[2] Wang Qingyun, “Sino-Central Asian Foreign Ministers to Meet, Prepare for Leaders’ Summit”, China Daily,, (Date of Accession: 28.04.2023).

[3] “Qin Gang Holds Talks Respectively with Foreign Ministers of Five Central Asian Countries”, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China,, (Date of Accession: 28.04.2023).

[4] “Qin Gang Holds…”, op.cit.

Dr. Emrah KAYA
Dr. Emrah KAYA
ANKASAM Dış Politika Uzmanı Dr. Emrah Kaya, Akdeniz Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nden mezundur. Yüksek lisans derecesini 2014 yılında Süleyman Demirel Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nde hazırladığı “Latin Amerika'da Sol Liderlerin Yükselişi ve Uluslararası Politikaya Etkisi: Venezuela-Bolivya Örneği” başlıklı teziyle almıştır. Kaya, doktora derecesini de 2022 yılında aynı üniversitede hazırladığı "Terörle Mücadelede Müzakere Yöntemi: ETA-FARC-LTTE-PKK" başlıklı teziyle elde etmiştir. İyi derecede İngilizce bilen Kaya'nın başlıca çalışma alanları; Orta Asya, Latin Amerika, terörizm ve barış süreçleridir.