TRUCULENT CHINA HAS SHIFTED GAZE TO KYRGYZSTAN

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Courtesy: npr.org

Throughout the end of September and till the Taiwan National Day on 10 October, China conducted provocative fighter maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait along with Naval exercises in the South China Sea. While the world was focused on these developments China once again very quietly achieved one strategic milestone in Central Asia using its ancient stratagem, ‘Stir up the Waters to catch a Fish’ – Create confusion and use this confusion to further your own goals(In chaos, it is easier to seize power.)

On 14 October, Kyrgyzstan got its new Prime Minister in Sadyr Zhaparov. Just days back he was behind bars serving a sentence for kidnapping a public official. The world didn’t take notice of the development and for the first time, Russia seemed to be losing grip over Central Asia.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

IMPORTANCE OF KYRGYZSTAN

Why would China give importance to Kyrgyzstan over its relationship with Russia? These are some of the important aspects:

  • Fergana Valley and surrounding Tien Shan mountain range: Kyrgyzstan controls the surrounding mountains thus controls the valley and Central Asia.
  • Central Asian countries act as a buffer for China with the rest of Asia and Europe as well as connect them with Europe.
  • Control of the region could give significant political and economic influence to China.
  • Russia has an airbase next to the northern city of Kant. Russia has plans to install air- and missile-defense equipment and drones at this airbase. China is wary of the Russian presence there.
  • Till 2014 the USA operated a transit center at Manas airbase near the capital city of Bishkek to support operations in Afghanistan. China doesn’t want NATO to utilize these bases in case the hostilities break out.

THE BONE OF CONTENTION: CHINA-KYRGYZSTAN-UZBEKISTAN RAILWAY

Courtesy: China Daily

The China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway was proposed in the mid-90s. However, much to China’s chagrin the project has dragged on for over 25 years. This year on 17 September, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Kyrgyz counterpart, Chingiz Aidarbekov, met in Bishkek. Wang talked about a community of shared futures and interests. He said that China firmly supports Kyrgyzstan’s path of development and opposes any foreign interference in Kyrgyzstan’s internal affairs. Wang stressed upon expediting mutual cooperation in the areas of economic relations. Aidarbekov also expressed Kyrgyzstan’s readiness to get involved in the Belt & Road Initiative and expedite the construction of China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway.

Just two days later, on 19 September, pro-Russia Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov, who had been pressing for a 3+1 format for over two years, once again reiterated that Russia should participate in the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railroad project. Adding a fourth country, with no direct linkage to the line made no sense to other participants.

China was always suspicious of Russia’s intentions. It had no direct economic benefit from the project. Russia has a dominant transportation position in the region. The proposed project does not run through Russian territory and in fact damages Russia’s current monopoly for transiting Chinese cargo to Europe.

THE CHINESE DESIGNS

China understands Russia’s delay tactics. However, China has its designs for the Central Asian countries and Afghanistan, which do not match Russian expectations. After years of economic engagement, China is ready to flex its muscles in the region, a move that could kindle discord with Russia.

Chinese investment in Central Asia often is done in nontransparent ways that bring great benefits to the elite and the powerful. As the BRI started expanding China expected using its usual methods so that its influence expands throughout Eurasia, at a rapid rate, however, Central Asia remains saddled firmly in the Russian grip. This has been frustrating and remains one of the most important tests of Chinese political and economic diplomacy. Till now China has been able to avoid public display of friction with Russia in the region, however, this is a pet project of Chinese President Xi Jinping. He is in a great hurry and getting frustrated with the delays.

SCO Meet: Did Xi Jinping tell Sooronbay Jeenbekov that your time is up

The signs of friction started emerging in February 2020, when Kyrgyz authorities canceled construction of a $275 million Chinese logistics center. China was already upset with the delay in BRI projects. It had to move in and move in fast. The main hurdle was pro-Russia President Sooronbay Jeenbekov. China saw the opportunity in the chaos which ensued soon after allegations of vote-buying emerged in the 4th October parliamentary elections, and struck. The actions were well planned or spontaneous only Zhaparov can tell.

Current Kyrgyz Prime Minister Zaparov: Courtesy Aljazeera

Asel Doolotkeldieva, a Kyrgyz academic is surprised at the astronomical ascent of Zhaparov. As per him, Zhaparov was a low-ranking politician and a convicted criminal. The whole thing has been orchestrated by forces working behind the scenes. He says that nobody can tell really how it’s possible that Zhaparov jumped from a place of detention immediately to the highest echelons of power. Nobody can answer this question currently and it’s puzzling all of us.

Has Sadyr Zhaparov been installed by China? Only time can tell. However, all indications are pointing towards that pro-Russia Sooronbay Jeenbekov was not pushing the Chinese agenda hard enough, and he paid the price.

CHINA IS READY TO UP THE ANTE

China’s task in the region is cut out clearly. China has its concerns for the underdeveloped and restive region of Xinjiang Autonomous Region, neighboring Central Asia. Therefore it seeks to create a zone of stability around the Turkic Muslim Uighur population. China’s growth is slowing down. CCP wields its power through the economy. Central Asia presents an opportunity for Chinese companies active in construction and infrastructure development. This reduces excess capacity at home in these sectors as well as presents opportunities for Chinese firms and workers abroad. BRI remains the biggest ambition of Xi Jinping. Central Asia is the backbone of the transportation networks that would support Chinese exports flowing to Europe and the Middle East.

China has realized one thing that if plans do not work out the way Deng Xiaoping had envisaged them, then China is ready to take the next step. To achieve Xi Jinping’s dream of making China the center of the universe, they would remove every impediment with impunity. They once again rely on age-old wisdom, “To Defeat the Bandits, Capture Their Leader”.

70 thoughts

    1. Not really. Turkey loves to play a big boss, but its hands are full. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

  1. A few months ago the Pamir mountain region of Kyrgyzstan made international headlines. It was due to China’s statement about Pamir region belonging to China and made its intention of land grab very clear.

    With the pro-Russia President Sooronbay Jeenbekov out of the way due to change in power, China will look to establish its control and then annexe the region. With the speculation that the newly appointed PM being a Chinese stooge, it is advantage China for now.

    1. Thank you so much, Hardik. That is a very valid point, and Kyrgyzstan is next in line. They have already annexed .7% of Tajikistan’s land.
      It would be interesting to see what Russia takes this forward.

  2. Thanks for another great article exposing China’s quest for world domination. You’ve provided me with some background, and I’ll be watching for news coming out of Kyrgyzstan.

  3. Great piece of informative writeup from you giving some insights into China’s gameplan. As already anticiipated ,China is trying every trick in its armoury!Thank you so much Sandip for providing us with the occasional update!

  4. “China saw the opportunity in the chaos which ensued soon after allegations of vote-buying emerged in the 4th October parliamentary elections, and struck.”

    There are always less than ethical tactics in politics. I’m betting this ‘vote-buying’ allegation was ‘gened’ up by the ChiComs.

    1. Thank you so much, ST. I am keeping a close watch on the events there and will update everyone at the latest.

    1. They would not venture out into Afghanistan militarily. They would buy out the Taliban. They couldn’t care what the Taliban do within their boundaries.

  5. The fact that Xi Jinping is willing to butt heads with Russia likes this is telling. What it tells, you ask? Time will tell.

  6. Thanks for this. In the U.S the primary concern is Russia, and the subplot, did Putin buy Trump. I am consistently amazed at how China is operating behind and underneath attention. Very smart and sophisticated. Thank you for paying attention.

    1. China is a smooth operator. Our focus has been on the wrong enemy for the last 30 years. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

  7. Have you heard the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes? Google it- you remind me of the boy who informs everyone that the Emperor (President Xi) isn’t actually wearing any clothes!

    1. Hehe, I had read the story as a kid, but it was worth paying a visit again.
      Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your wonderful thoughts.

  8. Like true communists, they ensnare the rich and influential to reach their goals … but maybe that is not fair to other communists.
    Interesting that they use the same method of exchanging high-ranking politicians in for them important countries that the Americans use(d). But at least Jeenbekov is still alive …

    1. Thank you so much, Stella, for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Fortunately, countries like the US still have some checks and balances. But, there is no such thing existing in China.

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. You have your hand on the pulse. Somehow, the US elections have become more of a spectacle than an institution of pride.

  9. Well you really seem to be keeping an eye on China. Hope the Russians are also not taking it lightly. If Biden gets US these guys will get further emboldened.

  10. Excellent compilation of data. The article once again exposes the shrewd nature of Xi Jinping and again playing dirty game in Asia.
    .
    Keep up the show
    Regards

  11. You have a keen eye for China. Very cogently connected dots of the Chinese master strokes in promoting BRI and undercutting US and Russian influence.

  12. Une question : Les dessins de la Chine ou les desseins, un e et ça change tout. Peut-être un oubli et le correcteur interne à WP n’y aurait vu que du feu.
    Le péril jaune : Le péril jaune –
    V, 68
    1901-1902
    Dans le Danube et du Rhin viendra boire
    Le grand chameau, ne s’en repentira :
    Trembler du Rosne et plus fort ceux de Loire :
    Et près des Alpes, Coq le ruinera.
    À l’époque fin du 19ème siècle, on disait déjà 600.000.000 de chinois et moi émoi…
    Puis 600.000.000 on prédisait 1.000.000.000.000, on a dépassé les 1.6 milliards comme en Inde.
    « Quand la Chine s’éveillera, le monde tremblera ». Cette phrase fut prononcée pour la première fois par Napoléon selon ce que nous en savons, en 1816 à Saint Hélène, après avoir lu le livre d’un voyage en Chine, d’un ambassadeur de Grande Bretagne, Lord Macartney.
    Quand la Chine s’éveillera… le monde tremblera est un essai d’Alain Peyrefitte paru en 1973 chez Fayard.Il s’est vendu à plus de 885.000 exemplaires en comptant uniquement l’édition française. Il a été republié en deux tomes en livre de poche, sous-titrés respectivement Regards sur la voie chinoise et La Médaille et son revers.
    Il n’était pas prévu que le docteur Chinois Li Wenliang, 34 ans, devienne Lanceur d’Alerte.
    Autre point : pratiquement impossible de construire un groupe d’hôpitaux neufs dernier cri de 1 à 2 milliers de salles de réanimation, sur des centaines d’hectares en seulement 2 semaines.
    Tout était prévu, pensé, organisé.
    En pleine débâcle du coronavirus mondiale, la Chine aurait gagné 2.500 milliards en un coup de bourse.

    Vous avez raison de parler de ces sujets ils sont précieux, bien plus que l’on ne peut l’imaginer !

    Les sujets sont intéressants, le Blog est bien fait !
    Bravo à vous !

  13. You are fast becoming my source for fair, balanced, and solid Asia news, @sandomina! Continuing thanks for your untiring efforts. 🙏

    1. Thank you so much, D’Nanda, for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. It is indeed a pleasure to have you over.

  14. “Catching the fish by creating chaos in water” . A concept very nicely explained by the author… This has been the power strategy of such power hungers. While the entire world was focused on Taiwan, this article unearths the importance of Kyrgyzstan. . The present Kyrgz PM needs to make his choice basis possible drawback comes with CN handshake..
    Great article..wish this article gets so much circulated to finally reach Kyrgz Administrators to see what’s in store for them in such dealings.. A long term possibility of India to play big brother in entire Asia 👍

  15. India recently tried to up its relationships with some of the Central Asian countries. I think India and Russia should aid in growth and development of Central Asian republics to counter China.
    Else China can gain big time.

  16. Wow! The quotes that China goes by make me think of all the Confusius Institutions that are sprouting up everywhere, which can’t be good! I’m currently Reading Sun Tzu and getting to know the rules of their engagement. Thank you for posting, Sandomina!

  17. What is reason of relation with China,KRGYZSTAN,UJBEKITAN,AND TAJIKISTAN are much eager?they think by this friendship will make them powerful.it is their misunderstanding.doing by this they all will be slaves of China.he is preparing his own powerful group like Hitler.If these small countries wants the support of a powerful big country;why they had separated from USS since 1990 A.D and 1992 A.D. after President announcement of Perestroika and Glasnost program for establishment the Democracy .so sad for world’s peace,these buffer states are dangerous.i pray -China’s all efforts in these small countries may be fail,otherwise world has to face again a big war ,may be third war.here Russia has come to near the buffer states situated his border.i think -this device is better than making a separated group by China against International peace.

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