China and Russia in Central Asia

How are Central Asian states rebalancing their relations with key global powers?

Research event, Panel Recording
14 May 2024 — 2:00PM TO 3:00PM

Event recording

Experts discuss where Russian and Chinese interests overlap in the region and where they diverge.

Russia’s preoccupation with Ukraine has given Central Asian states more latitude to re-balance their relations with global and regional powers, with China playing a key role. As trade between Central Asia and China surged in 2023, Beijing held a landmark summit with all five countries cementing an enhanced partnership.

Yet, contrary to conventional wisdom, China’s ascendancy has not led to the weakening of the region’s ties with Russia. The Central Asian states themselves understand the imperative of maintaining strong relations with both powers.

This webinar explores the areas where Russian and Chinese interests overlap in the region and where they diverge.

Key questions:

  • At a time when Russia is keen to maintain its ‘privileged’ relations with Central Asia, are the states of the region able to use Beijing as a hedge against Moscow’s demands?
  • Is China aiming to be a dominant player? Or is Beijing’s main priority to maintain stability on its western flank?
  • How does China’s relationship with Russia impinge on Beijing’s bilateral relations with the Central Asian states?
  • What are the implications of Central Asia’s strategic location between Russia and China for the development of alternative trade routes (like the Middle Corridor)?

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