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2021 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Implications for Central Asia

Author: Alejandra Peña

Published in: Political Regimes and Neopatrimonialism in Central Asia

Publisher: Springer Singapore

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Abstract

Launched in 2013 by President Xi Jinping, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) constitutes so far, the most complex, controversial, and far-reaching project put forth by a major power in the contemporary era. The BRI attempts to build an interconnected network of maritime and land-based economic routes, running from the Western Pacific to the Baltic Sea by putting forward “hard” and “soft” infrastructure projects. This chapter sheds light on the implications of the BRI in Central Asia by analyzing the economic, security, and political rationale driving the initiative in the region and exploring the linkages between the BRI and the agenda of Central Asian elites in terms of power consolidation and regime’s political stability.

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Footnotes
1
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China (2013): “Promote Friendship Between Our People and Work Together to Build a Bright Future”: http://​www.​fmprc.​gov.​cn/​mfa_​eng/​wjdt_​665385/​zyjh_​665391/​t1078088.​shtml. Accessed on 22 July 2017.
 
2
The State Council Information Office (2019): “Press Conference on Pursuing Higher-quality Opening-up and High-quality Commerce Development”: http://​english.​scio.​gov.​cn/​pressroom/​2019-09/​30/​content_​75283943_​0.​htm. Accessed on 12 October 2019.
Moody’s Analytics (2019): “The Belt and Road Initiative—Six Years On”: https://​www.​moodysanalytics.​com/​-/​media/​article/​2019/​belt-and-road-initiative.​pdf. Accessed on 12 October 2019.
 
3
The Economist (2016): “Our Bulldozers, Our Rules”: https://​www.​economist.​com/​china/​2016/​07/​02/​our-bulldozers-our-rules. Accessed on 31 October 2018.
 
4
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization was created in the year 2001 as a regional initiative led by Russia and China with the objective to improve the cooperation in Central Asia in order to guarantee security and stability in the region through the joined effort against the called “three evils”: terrorism, separatism, and extremism.
 
5
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China (2014): “China Entered into Diplomatic Relations with Independent Former Soviet Republics”: http://​www.​fmprc.​gov.​cn/​mfa_​eng/​ziliao_​665539/​3602_​665543/​3604_​665547/​t18019.​shtml. Accessed on 22 July 2017.
 
6
Among the most important visits, there was the one by the President of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov in March 1992, which was considered the first one ever made by a leader of the recently constituted Central Asian republics. Later on, it was the turn of the Presidents of Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan in May and November 1992. In March 1993, the President of Tajikistan would be received, and in October 1993, Nursultan Nazarbayev paid his first visit to China. President Jiang Zemin visited Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan in July in 1996, 1998, and 1999, as well as the visits paid in June 2000 to Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
 
7
(1) Mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, (2) mutual non-aggression, (3) non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, (4) equality and mutual benefit, and (5) peaceful coexistence. These principles were set for the first time by the Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai during the negotiations between China and India which led to the signing of the Sino-Indian Treaty in 1954. A year later, they would be made known to the international community during the Bandung Conference.
 
8
CIS Legislation (1998): “The Joint Statement of Participants of the Almaty Meeting - the Republic of Kazakhstan, People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Tajikistan”: http://​cis-legislation.​com/​document.​fwx?​rgn=​3881. Accessed on 9 September 2017.
 
9
During the 1990s, China established its first strategic partnerships with Brazil in 1993, Russia in 1996, and the U.S. in 1997.
 
10
Xinhuanet (2017): “Oil Imports Through Sino-Kazakh Pipeline hit 100 mln Tonnes”: http://​news.​xinhuanet.​com/​english/​2017-03/​29/​c_​136168316.​htm. Accessed on 12 August 2017.
 
11
Joint Declaration on New Stage of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Kazakhstan.
 
12
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China (2014): “Ministry of Foreign Affairs Holds Briefing for Chinese and Foreign Media on Premier Li Keqiang’s Visit to Kazakhstan and Holding of Second Regular Meeting with Prime Minister of Kazakhstan”: http://​www.​fmprc.​gov.​cn/​mfa_​eng/​zxxx_​662805/​t1219578.​shtml. Accessed on 18 August 2017.
 
13
KazMunaiGas (2017): “Gas Transportation Projects. Kazakhstan-China Gas Pipeline”: http://​www.​kmg.​kz/​eng/​deyatelnost/​project/​ptg/​. Accessed on 22 September 2017.
 
14
Azernews (2017): “Kazakhstan Launches Gas Supplies to China”: https://​www.​azernews.​az/​region/​120603.​html. Accessed on 25 September 2017.
 
15
China Daily (2009): “CNPC Buys Kazakh Oil Company”: http://​www.​chinadaily.​com.​cn/​business/​200904/​28/​content_​7722725.​htm. Accessed on 22 September 2017.
 
16
China Daily (2017): “Full Text of Chinese President’s Signed Article in Kazakh Newspaper”: http://​www.​chinadaily.​com.​cn/​world/​2017xivisitskaza​khstan/​2017-06/​07/​content_​29656868.​htm. Accessed on 24 September 2017.
 
17
World Nuclear Association (2020): “Uranium and Nuclear Power in Kazakhstan”: https://​www.​world-nuclear.​org/​information-library/​country-profiles/​countries-g-n/​kazakhstan.​aspx. Accessed on 24 March 2020.
 
18
China National Petroleum Corporation (2017): “Flow of Natural Gas from Central Asia”: http://​www.​cnpc.​com.​cn/​en/​Flowofnaturalgas​fromCentralAsia/​Flowofnaturalgas​fromCentralAsia2​.​shtml. Accessed on 14 September 2017.
 
19
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan (2017): “Cooperation of the Republic of Uzbekistan with the Countries of the Asia and The Pacific”: https://​mfa.​uz/​en/​cooperation/​countries/​374/​. Accessed on 14 September 2017.
UzDaily (2017): “Uzbekistan, China Discuss Development of Trade-economic Relations”: https://​www.​uzdaily.​com/​articles-id-38819.​htm. Accessed on 14 September 2017.
 
20
Tajikistan Asia-Plus (2017): “China Leads in Direct Investment in Tajikistan’s Economy”: https://​news.​tj/​en/​news/​tajikistan/​economic/​20170203/​236278. Accessed on 13 September 2017.
 
21
Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Portal (2017): “About SCO”: http://​eng.​sectsco.​org/​about_​sco/​. Accessed on 14 September 2017.
 
22
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China (2013): “Promote Friendship Between Our People and Work Together to Build a Bright Future”: http://​www.​fmprc.​gov.​cn/​mfa_​eng/​wjdt_​665385/​zyjh_​665391/​t1078088.​shtml. Accessed on 22 July 2017.
 
23
National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, with State Council authorization.
 
24
National Development and Reform Commission (2015): “Vision and Actions on Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st – Century Maritime Silk Road”: http://​en.​ndrc.​gov.​cn/​newsrelease/​201503/​t20150330_​669367.​html. Accessed on 13 June 2017.
 
25
China Daily (2019): “BRI Helps to Improve Infrastructure”: http://​www.​chinadaily.​com.​cn/​global/​2019-05/​10/​content_​37467396.​htm. Accessed on 12 September 2019.
 
26
National Development and Reform Commission (2015): “Vision and Actions on Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st – Century Maritime Silk Road”: http://​en.​ndrc.​gov.​cn/​newsrelease/​201503/​t20150330_​669367.​html. Accessed on 13 June 2017.
 
27
As it appears in the official document “Vision and Actions on Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st – Century Maritime Silk Road” (National Developmental and Reform Commission, 2015).
 
28
National Bureau of Statistics of China (2016): “China Statistical Yearbook 2015”: http://​www.​stats.​gov.​cn/​tjsj/​ndsj/​2015/​indexeh.​htm. Accessed on 7 February 2018.
Statista (2016): “Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of China in 2016, by region (in billion yuan)”: https://​www.​statista.​com/​statistics/​278557/​gdp-of-china-by-region/​. Accessed on 5 February 2018
 
29
National Bureau of Statistics of China (2017): “China Statistical Yearbook 2016”: http://​www.​stats.​gov.​cn/​tjsj/​ndsj/​2016/​indexeh.​htm. Accessed on 7 February 2018.
 
30
According to the Chinese government the SOEs are defined as “non-corporation economic units where the entire assets are owned by the state and which have registered in accordance with the Regulation of the People’s Republic of China on the Management of Registration of Corporate Enterprises” (National Bureau of Statistics of China, 2002). SOEs are owned either by central or local governments.
 
31
SASAC is a commission of the State Council that manages the state-owned assets and holds the shares of the central SOEs on behalf of the state.
 
32
Fortune (2019): “Global 500”: https://​fortune.​com/​global500/​. Accessed on 17 April 2020.
 
33
Xinhuanet (2016): “Xi Jinping zai quanguo guoyou qiye dang de jianshe gongzuo huiyi shang qiangdiao jianchi dang dui guoqi de lingdao bu dongyao” [Xi Jinping Stressed at the Working Conference on the Construction of State-owned Enterprises: Upholding Party’s Leadership over State-owned Enterprises]: http://​www.​xinhuanet.​com/​2016-10/​11/​c_​1119697415.​htm. Accessed on 12 February 2017.
 
34
South China Morning Post (2017): “How the Communist Party controls China’s state-owned Industrial Titans”: http://​www.​scmp.​com/​news/​china/​economy/​article/​2098755/​how-communist-party-controls-chinas-state-owned-industrial-titans. Accessed on 14 February 2018.
 
35
Nan, Zhong (May 9, 2017): “SOEs to Take the Lead Role Along the Belt and Road”, China Daily. http://​www.​chinadaily.​com.​cn/​business/​2017-05/​09/​content_​29258516.​htm. Accessed 23 April 2020.
 
36
People’s Daily (2018): “China’s Central SOEs Running Over 3,000 Projects Under BRI”: http://​en.​people.​cn/​n3/​2018/​1114/​c90000-9518167.​html.
 
37
For a better understanding of the emergence of a transnational class in China made of CPC’s officials, see Sklair (2002) and Izquierdo-Brichs and Etherington (2017).
 
38
Global Times (2012): “Wang Jisi: ‘Xijin’, zhongguo diyuan zhanlue de zai pingheng” [Wang Jisi: ‘March West’, China’s geopolitical re-balance]: http://​opinion.​huanqiu.​com/​opinion_​world/​2012-10/​3193760.​html. Accessed on 14 October 2017.
 
39
The State Council Information Office (2019): “Press Conference on Pursuing Higher-quality Opening-up and High-quality Commerce Development”: http://​english.​scio.​gov.​cn/​pressroom/​2019-09/​30/​content_​75283943_​0.​htm.
 
40
China.org.cn (2017): “SCIO Briefing on Trade and Economic Cooperation Under B&R Initiative”: http://​www.​china.​org.​cn/​china/​2017-05/​11/​content_​40790733.​htm. Accessed on 30 June 2017.
Xinhuanet (2017): “Full Text: List of Deliverables of Belt and Road Forum”: http://​news.​xinhuanet.​com/​english/​2017-05/​15/​c_​136286376.​htm. Accessed on 30 June 2017.
 
41
Xinhuanet (2017): “Keywords of China’s Major-country Diplomacy: Six Major Economic Corridors and AIIB”: http://​news.​xinhuanet.​com/​english/​2017-09/​18/​c_​136618958.​htm. Accessed on 12 October 2017.
 
42
Xinhuanet (2016): “Chinese, Uzbek Leaders Hail Inauguration of Central Asia’s Longest Railway Tunnel”: http://​news.​xinhuanet.​com/​english/​2016-06/​23/​c_​135458470_​2.​htm. Accessed on 13 October 2017.
 
43
Xinhuanet (2017): “Full Text: List of Deliverables of Belt and Road Forum”: http://​news.​xinhuanet.​com/​english/​2017-05/​15/​c_​136286376.​htm. Accessed on 30 June 2017.
 
44
Chazan, Guy (March 26, 2010) “Kazakh Spat Casts Light on China Deals”, The Wall Street Journal. https://​www.​wsj.​com/​articles/​SB10001424052748​7035809045751316​11702788550. Accessed 22 May 2020).
 
45
See Laruelle and Peyrouse (2009).
 
46
Reuters (2020): “China-led $280 Million Kyrgyzstan project Abandoned After Protests”: https://​www.​reuters.​com/​article/​us-kyrgyzstan-china-investment-protests/​china-led-280-million-kyrgyzstan-project-abandoned-after-protests-idUSKBN20C1HA. Accessed on 22 March 2020.
 
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Metadata
Title
China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Implications for Central Asia
Author
Alejandra Peña
Copyright Year
2021
Publisher
Springer Singapore
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-9093-1_3

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