Dr.Thrassy N. MARKETOS
(Independent Scholar-Geopolitics of Eurasia)

Copyright: Defense Analyses Institute (Greece)

Note: The article was first published at Defensor Pacis, March 2008 at the Defense Analyses Institute (Greece).

This paper focuses on the need of a stable and secure investment environment necessary for the energy provisionment of China from Central Asian states - especially Kazakhstan. I argue that the institutionalization of the  Shanghai Cooperation Organization (S.C.O. - January 2004), the Friendship and Cooperation Treaty between Russia and China (July 2001) and Chinese bilateral agreements with individual Central Asian states - as a structure for Russian acceptance, and possibly support, of Chinese involvement in Central Asia, at least in the near term - supported by the United States deployment in the region in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, present an avenue and a framework of stability in which pipeline construction can commence. In contrast to many interpretations, I believe that as much as the U.S. presence is needed to stabilize the region for Chinese investment in energy resources, that much this strategic framework of cooperation between Russia, China and U.S.A., on a basis of mutual interest, is threatened from Chinese perspective by this very presence.This paper is based on published materials, personal writings and field research.

In the wake of the dynamic shifts in the post-9/11 international security, Central Asia is no longer viewed solely within the prism of broader U.S. – Russian relations, or only valued for its energy supplies. Central Asia has emerged as a pivotal arena of international security, with an enhanced strategic significance that has superseded the region’s geographic isolation and geopolitical marginalization and has become a complicated vector for Chinese, Russian and United States national interests.

Shanghai Cooperation Organization (S.C.O.) creation reflect the Russian and Chinese shared security interests in Central Asia, but has not for the time being focused on the issue of energy security, an indispensable element of Beijing’s global geostrategy.     

Chinese strategic interests in Central Asia

Since the end of the Cold War, Central Asia has emerged as a newly defined, separate geopolitical space. Its abundant raw materials, particularly oil and gas, and its unique geographic location give the region its importance. Nevertheless, the region was until recently as much geographically as strategically distant and indifferent to the United States and Europe. The event of 9/11 has catapulted the region into the world’s spotlight and has grown in strategic importance.

Since then, the United States of America is activated as major geopolitical player in Central Asia, in addition to Russia and China. Europe is deeply concerned and involved in the region and has the potential to become a fourth power. Turkey and Iran, although have particular interests and influence thanks to historical vantages, should be seen as lesser powers in the region. The same to India and Japan who are quietly penetrating Central Asia in the economic sphere. 

The special statuses of China, Russia and the United States in Central Asia are mainly attributed to their involvement and influence in the region on the one hand, and on the other, to the framework of the special relations of the three powers have forged in the separate relations with one another. Mainly in the aftermath of the establishment of a U.S. military presence in Central Asia, dealing with the bilateral and trilateral relations among the three powers vis-à-vis their relations with Central Asia has become a significant strategic issue for China, Russia, and the United States. Once the Soviet Union collapsed and Central Asia has become an independent geopolitical space, China’s entry into the region reignited a frozen relationship stretching back to the days of the Great Silk Road. Beijing’s geographical closeness to Central Asia and long common border to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan (over 3000 km) has allowed the growing of a robust trade, but also the rise of potentially serious threats to China’s security and development. Chinese interests in Central Asia are: firstly to constrain the separatist forces of ‘East Turkestan’ ; secondly, to keep Central Asia as China’s stable strategic rear area ; and thirdly, to make Central Asia one of China’s diversified sources of energy resources and a regional economic partner.         

1. The term ‘East Turkestan’ was initially used by Russians and Europeans beginning from the 18th century to designate the south part of Xingjian province in western China. In 1933 and 1944 two ‘East Turkestan Republics’ were established but were both short - lived. Contemporary movement of ‘East Turkestan’ in Xingjian aim to set up an independent ‘East Turkestan’ state and its followers engage sometimes in terrorism and violence (1). The Chinese state considers all organizations engaged in creating such a state as terrorist, adopting political separatism and religious extremism and follows towards them its traditional since the Han Dynasty policy, which consider striking separatism and maintaining national unity as the persistent mission and agenda for the Chinese government. It is, in a sense, a continuation of China’s ongoing struggle to unite all its territory as one nation.

The ‘East Turkestan’ forces have historic, ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and religious ties with Central Asia. In addition, two-thirds of all Uyghurs, the main Turkic population in Xingjian, live in Central Asian states (about 350 thousand) and many Kazakhs, Tajiks and Kyrgyz live in Xingjian. As in the background of Sino-Soviet confrontation, a number of different ‘East Turkestan’ organizations were encouraged by the Soviet Union, the independence of the five Central Asian states boosted these organizations’ activities and made Central Asia one of their bases. They obtain spiritual and material support, as well as military training from international terrorist organizations including those in Central Asia, such as the Taliban, Hizb-ut-Tahrir, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and the Turkestan Islamic Party. Central Asia is a safe haven for separatists fleeing China and serves as the major channel by which international terrorism penetrates China. 

Since Central Asia now significantly affect the security of northwest China, China’s Central Asian policy require that Central Asian governments restrict and prohibit ‘East Turkestan’ forces conducting activities in their territories and prevent terrorist and extremist forces from sneaking into China through their territories. Considering so that the security of Central Asia is closely associated to China’s Xingjian security, it is obvious that Beijing is willing to join Central Asians and Russia in establishing regional collective security mechanisms, nowadays a central function of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (S.C.O.).

2. Securing Central Asia as China’s stable strategic rear area is part of that country grand strategy geopolitics since Beijing primary strategic mission and foreign policy priority is to avoid possible U.S. support of Taiwan independence in the southeast and U.S. containment of China’s rise, both of which are likely to precipitate Sino – U.S. strategic confrontation. Therefore, China concentrates its main resources on the major strategic front and keeps Central Asia stable, tranquil and part of the country strategic rear area.
Securing Central Asia as part of China’s stable strategic rear area is predicted in three conditions. (a) To solve the disputed border issues between Central Asian states and China and maintaining peace and security in the border areas. Both tasks have been fulfilled. (b) That bilateral relations between Central Asian states and China are conducted in good – will, and (c) that Central Asia does not fall into the control of any major power or group of major powers that have complicated geopolitical and strategic relations with China or threaten its interests in the region. It comes to the inference then, that should China meet these conditions, it can have its attention focused on other strategic priorities and feel secure that it can manage any contingency arisen in Central Asia.

3. Since China’s energy import has doubled in the last five years (2) and the country is bound to depend heavily on international market, the Chinese government should guarantee the energy supplies demanded by China’s sustainable economic development and diversify a stable energy supply. 
In an effort to diversify energy supplies, China has signed in 1997 with Kazakhstan the construction of the Atyrau (west Kazakhstan) – Alashankou (Xingjian) oil pipeline due in operation in 2006. The pipeline will be connected with the existing Kenjiyak – Atyrau pipeline. As soon as the project will be completed China could import at least 10-20 million tons of oil from Kazakhstan every year, which equals to more than 10% of China’s oil imports. Even though the volume of energy the country imports from Central Asia has not reached the level of strategic significance, prospects for the next several years are more than optimistic since oil production in Kazakhstan has been growing rapidly. Prospects are also optimistic for the regional economic cooperation. Xingjian’s trade with Central Asia (about 4 billion $ in 2003, over 60% of the volume of its foreign trade) plays a significant role this Chinese province economic development. As this international trade, promoted by the Chinese government ‘Go West’ campaign, is an important channel of China’s re-entry into Central Asia, Beijing plans to turn Central Asia into a Free Trade Zone in the framework of S.C.O.

But in order to better measure Beijing’s interests in Central Asian states and estimate the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s security role, we should also briefly refer to the other two major powers’ interests, that is Russia and the United States of America. Russia, has been making significant inputs in the region since President Putin assumed power in the Kremlin in 2000, although the events of 9/11 were no doubt a shock on Russia’s presence in Central Asia. The U.S. presence was a major encroachment into Russia’s sphere of influence and a rift to the Russian geopolitical posture, as it undermined the concept that Russia was the only power entitled to deploy troops and have military presence in Central Asia. It is noteworthy that, although the U.S. has not made any explicit commitments to Central Asia security, its military presence per se offered a security alternative to the Central Asian states, which had further eclipsed Russia’s role in Central Asian security and especially the of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (C.S.T.O.). It is noteworthy that the Kremlin is fearful for the country’s territorial integrity since many Russians explain the American forces presence in Central Asia as a conspiracy targeting Russia itself. As a prominent scholar of the West quotes “A loosely confederated Russia –composed of a European Russia, a Siberian Republic, and a Far Eastern Republic- would also find it easier to cultivate closer economic relations with its neighbours” (3).

Notwithstanding, the declining Russia’s strategic presence and influence in Central Asia in the wake of Soviet disintegration, as well as the event of 9/11, Russia is still the most deep-rooted power in Central Asia.
Moscow is acutely sensitive to the security situation in Central Asia. This region is adjacent to Russia, the regimes of the five newly independent Commonwealth of Independent States (C.I.S.) are weak, their economies are difficult, and their societies are severely fragmented, which is the soil for terrorism and extremism. No doubt, Russia is interested that Central Asia remains part of its ‘backyard’ and is prevented from being controlled by other major power. After 9/11assented to the U.S. military deployment in Central Asia to attack Taliban and Al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan, which eliminated a security threat to Central Asian states but also a significant threat to Russia itself. Much of Russia’s post 9/11 activity there, such as the establishment of the Kant airbase, has been interpreted as political balancing again U.S.

In addition to Russia’s strong commercial interests in Central Asia, its main economic goal rests in controlling energy outlets taking advantage of its geographic privileges and infrastructure. Kremlin in this way eyes in maintaining its political influence on Central Asia and its economic benefits from the transportation of the Central Asian energy export. Also, given that ethnic Russians in Central Asia are estimated to about 6 million or about 12% of the total population, one of Russia’s main policies in Central Asia and national interests has been regarded the protection of Russian minorities rights and equality. 

In contrast to Russia and China, the United States strategic presence is remarkable given the natural limitation of the U.S. – Central Asian relation. The U.S. attention increased from the mid-1990’s mainly due to the evolving shape of U.S.-Russian relations, the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and increased fears of Central Asian instability. Over time, the U.S. began to increase its political, economic, and military inputs, encouraged Central Asian states to cooperate without the economic involvement of Moscow, and promoted the construction of the Baku – Tbilisi – Ceyhan oil pipeline to break Russia’s control of the Central Asian energy export. 

For present, counter-terrorism is the primary interest of the U.S. as they view regional security in Central Asia as part and parcel with the so-called War on Terrorism. This policy is in fact a more robust continuation of the original U.S. Central Asia engagement plan that included support for the Central Asian peacekeeping battalion (CENTRASBAT), combined training exercises, and NATO’s Partnership Program (PfP) in the region. In addition to counter-terrorism, the strategic control of the Caspian energy as the world’s most probable candidate for future energy extraction remains high in the American agenda. 

Equally important is the geopolitical intention of the U.S. hidden behind their military presence in Central Asia. The abrupt U.S. military presence in the name of counter-terrorism is, to Russia, an intrusion into its traditional sphere of influence and, to China, an intrusion into its strategic rear. In this way, it serves to monitor and constrain China, preventing Russia from restoring its control of Central Asia, propping up Central Asian independence from Russia, and restricting Iran’s influence in the region.       

The new U.S. presence has temporarily lessened the Central Asian states dependence on their two larger neighbours. However, it is unclear whether future American economic and strategic interests will translate into direct support for these states in their fight against Islamist groups. Thus, the fact that no Central Asian state has pulled out of the group, signifies that their leaders believe that Russia and china are the best guarantee for regional security, in light of the uncertainty hovering over the future presence of the U.S. in the region. So, while international community’s focus on Islamist terrorism on the eve of the 9/11 events, and the current war on terrorism has given the U.S., which has traditionally been excluded from Central Asia, a key foothold in establishing its influence in the region, Washington holds only two primary interests in the area: first, develop Central Asia’s rich oil and gas reserves; second, gain tactical ground to observe nearby political developments, especially in South Asia in shaping Indian – Pakistani relations. A U.S.–controlled oil and gas pipeline running from Central Asia through Pakistan and India, can bring much needed revenues to these states and the U.S. greater influence over the peace process in the subcontinent.    

Shanghai Cooperation Organization : security role in Central Asia 

In order to better serve its interests in Central Asia, Beijing’s inspired the ‘Shanghai Five’, a mechanism created in 1996 for settling border disputes between China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and protecting the security of each nation. As this mechanism was transformed in 2001 into a more permanent regional cooperation organization, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (S.C.O.), China acquired a security protection mechanism, an established channel for China to participate and maintain a dynamic and evolving posture in Central Asian affaires, and a platform to cooperate with Central Asian countries comprehensively. S.C.O. institutionalization also reflected a strategic compromise and balance of interests reached between Russia and China as far as Central Asia is concerned, paving the way for a mutual recognition of interests and strategic cooperation. 

S.C.O. could evolve into a promising framework for building tighter trade, investment, cultural, environmental, and technological relations between its member states. It would then become “the region’s authoritative voice” (4). But this would require that the S.C.O. operates as a legitimate vehicle for the collective interests of its members rather than as an organ dominated or directed by one or two states. In fact, S.C.O. was inspired to be a synergistic tool of Russian and Chinese foreign policy, a vessel by which these two powers could court Central Asian states into steadily growing military and economic relations while simultaneously coordinating policies to crush internal threats like militant Islamic movements. Russia and China want to use S.C.O. to eventually build a new regional security architecture that reinforces each other’s territorial integrity while retrenching Western influence at the same time (5).

The leaders of the Central Asian states accepted the strategic Sino-Russian dominance over their region in order to gain support for their harsh domestic policies of severely repressing religious and political opposition movements. 9/11 events changed the security and geopolitical scene in Central Asia, as United States deployed troops there and the Taliban regime fell in Afghanistan. These events highlighted Central Asia’s strategic importance to the West as the ‘geopolitical pivot’ and ‘shatter belt’ of the extensive Eurasian landmass (6). The region is no longer assumed to lie within the Sino-Russian sphere of influence, but finds itself once again in a ‘great game’ of geopolitics between major powers. Given Central Asia’s rich strategic and physical resources, “one can expect potential clashes of global interests of great powers for domination of the region” (7).

As a result, the more Russia and U.S. cooperated actively in Central Asia, Central Asian countries leaned politically to the United States and Washington’s influence was grown, the more S.C.O.’s role in regional security and China’s influence was stemming. In fact, no matter how much China has gained from the U.S. campaign in Afghanistan against Taliban and the ensuing blow to operations of its own Uyghur separatist militants, U.S. preponderance in Central Asia was a serious setback to the government that aspires to the role of the Asian superpower (8). Much to the alarm of Moscow and Beijing, S.C.O. Central Asian members, particularly Uzbekistan, gladly welcomed U.S. requests to station its military forces on their soil. This apparent lack of internal unity, compounded with S.C.O. inability to mount a cohesive strategy towards the terrorist threat emanating from Afghanistan, has highlighted the blunt dominance of Sino-Russian interests within the organization, as well as its weakness as both a security mechanism and as a forum to combat the growing American influence in the region. In fact, the evolution of the S.C.O. is the salient yardstick that measures how well Russia and China will coexist with each other as well as with the newly present U.S. It represents the struggle to maintain Sino-Russian hegemony over Central Asia in the face of growing U.S. interests and the stubborn presence of violent Islamist – oriented movements. It is clear that Russia, and especially China, want to use the S.C.O. as an alternative alliance to the U.S. military presence in Central Asia. 

S.C.O.’s creation in 1996 was a perfect interception of China’s and Russia’s interests in Central Asia, as it fused Moscow’s long – standing quest to increase control over the region with Beijing’s desire to create a multi-polar world. They envisaged the organization as an instrument to ensure the safety of Central Asia from foreign encroachment by exerting dual hegemony over the region. China has long wished to develop the energy resources of the region in order to achieve civilian and military production targets over the next decades, but also to safeguard its western flank from intrusion from foreign powers, particularly as it faces U.S. military installations or U.S. – supported military forces on its eastern front via South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. The signing between China and Russia of the ‘Good – Neighbourly Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation’ (June 2001) codified the mutual support for each other’s policies already from the 1990’s and the S.C.O. was a continuation of this trend. 

It should also be noted that the so called ‘Shanghai process’ (including both the original Shainghai Five and the S.C.O.) is embodied in the framing of the new Chinese security concept –formally approved in 2001- which defines that security should be obtained by peaceful means, through mutual cooperation and on the basis of the principle that that ‘security is mutual’. In other words, Beijing opposes the idea that any country can build its own absolute security upon the insecurity of others and supports the concept of multilateral security dialogue and cooperation (9).

The creation of the Shanghai Five (later S.C.O.) was itself a seminal event. For the first time Moscow conceded that it could not maintain exclusive influence in Central Asia. Russia feared it was loosing Central Asian governments to the United States, and that most importantly, the spreading of radical Islamic movements supported by the Taliban would overwhelm governments in the region, meaning that the Kremlin would face the Taliban all across its non-existent borders to the south. In this perspective, and considering Beijing as the least of several evils, Moscow allowed and even encouraged Chinese involvement in Central Asia. China was not so powerful that it could deny Russian influence in the region. In addition, Chinese economic and political resources could help prop up governments and prevent them from shifting preferences to Washington. Beijing itself, could more effectively penetrate Central Asia with Moscow’s consent, and prevent both the U.S. and Islamists from gaining influence there.

China herself, aims to the following strategic targets in Central Asia with the aid of S.C.O.: a. strengthening security cooperation (especially against terrorism) with Central Asian states and promoting the stability of both Central Asia’s and China’s own western territory by cutting off the cross-border links between terrorist organizations; b. extending economic and trade relations with Central Asian countries and establishing a source of energy to meet growing domestic demand; c. broadening the cooperative dimension with Russia; d. creating a new diplomatic image for China by establishing a local model of multilateral cooperation; and e. promoting an international processes of political multipolarity (10).

Thus, security in Central Asia is a precondition for China for gaining access to its most convenient energy reserves: Russia and Central Asian states. For Central Asian states also, China is a huge potential market for energy sales and an important passageway to link up with the Asia – Pacific economic rim and the world market. On the other hand, China needs to be able to maintain Xingjian’s stability and security cooperation with its Central Asian neighbours since both railroads and pipelines are vulnerable to terrorist attacks. 

Notably, the perceived potential danger of Islamist militants is the main threat that binds the regional security policies of the S.C.O. countries together. All its members share growing unease with Islamist – styled militancy or separatist movements, and that disquiet helped fuel the formation of the S.C.O. China faces Uyghur separatist problem in Xingjian. Russia wages its costly war in Chechnya while also uneasily observing public sentiment in its predominantly Muslim provinces, such as Tatarstan and Dagestan. Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan all struggle with Islamist movements, like Hizb-ut-Tahir and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (I.M.U.), fermenting in the volatile Fergana Valley. 

Central Asian leaders have over-projected the danger of Islamist militancy to justify their hard–line political tactics, but in reality Islamist extremists do not have the ability to topple the Central Asian governments. But it is also true that none of the S.C.O. countries, besides Russia and China, can contain Islamist militants alone. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in particular lack the domestic resources to permanently sustain any effective military campaigns against them. Such perception that Russia and China were the only powers that would contribute to the region’s security compelled the Central Asian states to support the formation of the S.C.O. in the first place. Yet, while the S.C.O. proclaims terrorism and religious extremism to be of its primary targets, the group has not taken a single measure against any Islamist movement within its member states, besides establishing in Bishkek a regional anti-terrorism centre. 

Things made worse after the Andijan (Uzbekistan) revolt (summer 2005) and its brutal suppression by the Karimov regime. The S.C.O. became an attractive partner for more states, including India, Pakistan, Iran, and even Afghanistan. Russia and China felt sufficiently self-confident to push through a collective request to the U.S. to consider the withdrawal of its military bases from Central Asia. But concerned after the ‘Tulip Revolution’ in Kyrgyzstan redoubled their efforts to limit U.S. influence as the example of Kyrgyzstan showed that the U.S. presence could be mortal for the region’s authoritative regimes. Uzbekistan, Balkirev government in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistani government sided themselves in favour of China, Russia and S.C.O. 

In spite of these successes and the over-publicized ‘Shanghai spirit’ of coerciveness in strategic policies, Russia feels compelled to fight to maintain equal footing with China in order to return to Central Asia as an independent actor, rather than under the Chinese umbrella. Just for example, the choice of the route for the new oil pipeline scheduled to provide energy resources to China in the Far East became a source of contention, as Moscow made a conscious effort to avoid dependence on a single customer by making a parallel proposition to Japan. President Karimov of Uzbekistan on the other hand, is trying to play Russia and China against one another in the same way that he tried to play Russia against the U.S. in 2004. There were also later refuted reports that China expressed interest in taking over the base in Khanabad once the United States vacated it.

Indicative also of an increased diversion in Russian and Chinese policies, is the intrigue around the invitation of new observers and possible new members in S.C.O. When Russia proposed to invite India, China immediately insisted on inviting Pakistan. The tentative enlargement of the S.C.O. displayed both the Russian attempt to create a counterbalance to China within the organization and the Chinese attempt to counter-counterbalance that move. Only the invitation of Iran was by mutual consent, but again reflecting own strategies of the two countries vis-à-vis Teheran, and inspired by the motive of creating a multi-polar world. It seems the Kremlin is indecisive whether it genuinely wants to push the United States from Central Asia, or whether it can live with the United States. Whereas Washington seems to fluctuate between denial and admittance of a great game, Moscow stubbornly sticks to the great game framework. Narrowly and pragmatically defined Russian interests, however, are not necessarily incompatible with U.S. interests in the region. Paradoxically, the more players that are present on the scene (including China, India, Pakistan, and Iran), the more stable the situation will be and the more likely it is that Russia will be able to advance its economic interests and prevent control over the region by an outside power. In the longer run, the U.S. presence might become essential when Russia  has to compete with China for influence in Central Asia. 

In any case, U.S. and Russian policies in Central Asia are a great game only to the extent that great powers are prepared to frame issues in that manner. Unless both the United States and Russia assume a different attitude toward each other’s positions and interests in Central Asia, a Moscow – Beijing axis is likely to form and will create a geopolitical conflict with Washington. Especially in case Central Asian states that have associated themselves with different great powers camps (Uzbekistan with Russia and China – Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan more or less with the United States), might try to involve their patrons in jockeying for power among themselves (11).

Clashes and coexistence between the three major powers in Central Asia

Trying to examine the bilateral relations between the main external geopolitical actors in Central Asia, China, Russia and the U.S.A., we conclude they are developing in a flexible triangle. China and Russia have a potentially grater common interest in their bilateral relations than in each of their relationships with the United States. This reflects the two countries’ more similar power statuses as well as the fact that they experienced many of the same gains and losses from the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan and its presence in Central Asia.

Cooperation against terrorism has enhanced both U.S. – Russian and U.S. – Chinese relations, as in the aftermath of 9/11 attacks Washington declared some separatist organizations in both Russia and China as terrorist organizations. The three powers began sharing common views and interests in anti-terrorism. Russia opened its territorial air space to the U.S., shared intelligence and, most important, allowed military presence in Central Asia. China too, closed its border with Afghanistan and shared intelligence with Washington.

Nevertheless, there still exist elements of competition between the three players. The U.S. appears to have at least the potential objective of containing both China and Russia in geostrategic terms by its long-term military presence in Central Asia, even if the primary purpose of its deployment was to combat terrorism. This implication is of considerable concern to both Moscow and Beijing, in terms of the security of their periphery and their overall strategic interests (12). China now faces a U.S. military presence around its north-eastern (the Korean Peninsula), south-eastern (the Philippine Islands, Singapore, and the U.S. military commitment to Taiwan), and its western (Afghanistan) borders. Russia too, has expressed its wish for the U.S. troops to withdraw from Central Asia after the counter-terrorism war ended, and has tried its outmost to strengthen its military, political and economic influence in the Central Asian states. The very fact that Moscow accelerated its deployment at the Kant base in Kyrgyzstan during the Afghan war, shows that it reacts once again in its history under the treat of encirclement and therefore some degree of U.S. – Russian strategic competition is inevitable, as shown in Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and also Kyrgyzstan or Uzbekistan in recent years. 

The same it is true in the U.S. – Chinese relations, as Washington’s fear of Beijing’s credible challenge to the U.S.A. dominant strategic role in the Asia – Pacific region pushes U.S. in a steady build-up of strategic deployments in China’s surrounding regions. In the economic level too, the U.S. has heavily invested in extracting and exporting the Caspian energy resources to the U.S.A. and the West, to avoid that they are heading towards China (13). The non-military (economic –mainly in the field of energy development and oil and gas pipeline construction - , political and cultural) aspects of the three geopolitical actors competition in Central Asia may turn-out to be the ones of most enduring influence.

This is true, given the fact that China, Russia and the U.S. all are too important –in various ways- to each other in fighting terrorism and in maintaining stability in Central Asia. U.S. troops in Central Asia, serve stability in such important regions of both China and Russia as Xingjian and Chechnya, and given Washington’s deep involvement in Iraq, countering proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and other priorities, to afford upsetting their bilateral or trilateral relations in a sharp foreign policies confrontation there. Washington wants to guarantee for itself the means of the military access to the region for purposes of combating terrorism, and economic access to the energy competition in Central Asia. Russia, after failing to engulf Central Asian states through various multilateral institutions, cooperates with them in many fields, and has identified China as a partner capable of helping it to sustain its influence in the region. 

Central Asia’s importance in China’s foreign policy and security again, is not as important as Sino-U.S. or Sino-Russian relations, in terms of what the U.S. and Russia can contribute both to China’s political and economic priorities. China does not want to see any conflict in the region, therefore has supported the U.S.-led military action against terrorism in Central Asia or Iraq. Given that in the midst of the anti-terrorism campaign U.S. has become more reliant than ever on international, regional and bilateral cooperation, China has taken advantage of its geographic bordering with both Afghanistan and North Korea to promote its political utility to Washington. Beijing has also understood that by directly confronting Washington risks losing opportunities for development through a stand-still in Sino-U.S. economic and technical cooperation.In sum, China, Russia and the U.S.A. have both elements of competition over security and energy affairs and cooperation in Central Asia. In fact, the perspectives of cooperation between the three players are greater than those for conflict given that Central Asia is regarded a second-order area in each of their strategic perspectives.

Is a strategic meeting of minds among Washington, Beijing and Moscow for the sake of Central Asia’s stability realistic? 

In the wave of serious unrest in both Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan in 2005 and widespread concern within the Russian policy elite that this could lead to regional contagion, the Kremlin refocused minds on how to engage with emerging post-Soviet realities in the near abroad Central Asia. Russia realised it should use multilateral structures to retain a guiding role at the cost of allowing deeper and broader Chinese engagement within the region. As the communiqué of this year’s S.C.O. summit indicates, the Organization received a broader role in the ensuing foreign policy adjustment.

The Kremlin faces the following strategic, economic, and political imperatives in Central Asia: a. defend its porous southern border, b. face off the perceived threat of encirclement, c. abate Zhrinovsky-ite nationalists at home, d. project Russia’s great power status internationally, e. secure access to regional resources and markets and finally, f. combat Islamic fundamentalism intrusion in its own Muslim republics. Because it realised that alone the brutal use of military means in Chechnya or actions of the Russian forces in the civil war of Tajikistan, only created an enduring source of regional instability, the Russian government was forced to reassess its reliance on traditional approaches to the exercise of hard power and search for effective and binding cooperation with Central Asian regimes.       

Russia has encountered limited success in the use of multilateral organizations in Central Asia (Eurasian Economic Commonwealth -EEC, Collective Security treaty Organization –CSTO, Central Asian Union –CAU) in its effort to engage Central Asian leaders in a multilateral framework with itself, mainly because of the structural weaknesses of the Russian economy. In the post September 11, 2001 geopolitical arena, searching for new levels of influence within Central Asia, and increasingly concerned by the U.S. military presence there, the reactivation of the GUAM group and the effectiveness of the U.S. support for regime change in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan, has decided to engage itself with the S.C.O. But this Organization differs in that it balances the interests of two major powers in the region. In this move marks a significant departure from previous policy, because in allowing China to having an equal role in engaging the Central Asian regimes, Moscow is coming close to legitimating the view that Beijing’s interests in the region are equivalent to its own.

For Russia, the benefits associated with engaging the S.C.O. in its relationship with Central Asia can be distinguished into two categories –the explicit and the implicit. The explicit benefits include the ability to present a united front in dealings with the United States, a renewed regional focus on combating insecurity and extremism, and the opportunity to broaden and deepen economic ties. Some of the potential implicit benefits, such as the protection of individual regimes, are even more far reaching, and are currently still emerging . For example, despite previous criticism of Moscow’s plans for Central Asia, Uzbek President Karimov has fallen more fully into the Russian camp following the Andijan incident, when he received strong support from Moscow and Beijing. This success of the Russian foreign policy indicates the role S.C.O. seems best fitted to play, as a guarantor of mutual support between both states and regimes (14). This was also true when Russia was given the green light by the Kyrgyz government to more than double its military forces in its Kant base. Russia used S.C.O. effectively that its base should not be treated equally by the new Kyrgyz regime.

Equally important from the Russian perspective and a significant strategic breakthrough, was the strength of 2005 S.C.O. summit resolution calling on U.S. forces to leave the region; a sign that Beijing and Moscow have agreed to use the S.C.O. as their vehicle for opposing the U.S. role in Central Asia. Moscow can present its demands much more forcefully to the U.S. by coordinating its message with Beijing and ensuring that it is mirrored in regional capitals. An other analysis, explains the same calling of “determination of the date” of Western military withdrawal, as Moscow’s bowing to Beijing’s demand (15). 

Indicative to the role Russia wishes for S.C.O. to play, is the calling of the Organization as guarantor of regional stability both in Central Asia and the Far East (2003 Russian Defense Ministry White Paper). In 2005, the first-ever joint Sino-Russian military exercises were held, on Chinese territory. However, Russia has been careful not to let the regional balance in Central Asia tilt too far toward China. While Beijing has been pressing for the S.C.O. to move toward establishing a free trade area, Russia was blocking that, fearing China’s clear advantage. In general, of the two fundamental areas of S.C.O. activity, security and development, Moscow has been emphasizing the former. But even in the security role of S.C.O., Moscow is very modest in its evaluation. The Organization’s security role is to give moral and political support to its members, and facilitate exchange of information. As President Putin noted, the S.C.O. is not the place to discuss defending against aggression and excluded any possibility of military operations conducted under the auspices of the S.C.O. (16). Earlier in the same year (spring 2005), Moscow gave a negative answer to an even theoretical possibility of Chinese military presence in Central Asia, replacing U.S. forces after evacuating the base in Uzbekistan.

Truly, in spite of the fact that counterterrorism, maintaining stability and promoting development in Central Asia is of all three major powers common interest, there remain obstacles to cooperation. First, the problem of the U.S. ‘legitimacy’ in the region. The term ‘legitimacy’ is not used in its international law meening, but rather as an indication that U.S. presence in Central Asia has not been recognized and accepted by Russia and China. In the beginning of the war in Afghanistan, U.S. promised that its presence would be temporary and would not endanger China’s or Russia’s interests. But as the present state of affairs show, the U.S. troops will be deployed in Central Asia far into the future and China and Russia will persist that the U.S. keep its promise.

Second obstacle to cooperation is that China, Russia, and the United States have not forged any forms of mechanism or mechanical framework for their relations in Central Asia, mainly because there doesn’t exist a foundation on which the three powers can engage directly. There is no appropriate channel for dialogue and no platform for cooperation. Though the S.C.O. and other mechanisms of dialogue and cooperation exist between China and Russia, there are none between China and the United States, between Russia and the United States, and among China, Russia and the U.S. What the three major powers in Central Asia need ultimately is a multilateral cooperation framework made of dialogue, communication, consultation, and collaboration. This presumption is not only feasible, but also desirable. China, Russia or the United States do not have the intention or will to pursue confrontation. This is the fundamental precondition on which the three powers can be prevented from confrontation in Central Asia. One way or the other, there will be no stable equilibrium of power in Eurasia without a deepening strategic understanding between America and China.
It is for all three major external powers in Central Asia political and strategic interest not to compete each other, because this would give the chance to the various destructive forces in the region (religious terrorism, drugs production / trafficking) to use their rivalries for their own benefit. And the institutional structure of the S.C.O. leaves them the way wide open for this. The S.C.O. is based upon the principle of non-alignment, in other words, not targeting a third country or any other region, it seeks a constructive working relationship with the West. It places no restrictions on member states expanding their relations with others, and in that way it offers flexibility and adaptability. That for, Central Asian state’s military cooperation with the U.S. should not be considered as abandoning the S.C.O. In any case, the constructive relationship between the U.S. and S.C.O. member states, and the U.S. military presence in Central Asia, leave little possibility for the organization to seeking dominance in Central Asia, nor a tool used by China and Russia to eliminate U.S. influence in the region. On the contrary, it has provided new opportunities for the three powers to cooperate with each other.

In case of a U.S. and its N.A.T.O. allies failure in Afghanistan and military withdrawal, Russian and Chinese security is for sure not going to be improved. As Dmitri Trenin notes, “As to the S.C.O., it needs to open itself to the United States as an observer, especially since the U.S. cannot be seriously excluded from region-wide discussions. In that way, more mutual confidence could be ensured not only between Russia and America, but also, and more importantly, in the 21st century global context, between America and China” (17). The United States limited participation in S.C.O. activities would raise the status and influence of the Organization and will help it to turn into a truly region-wide political and security organization. But an other analyst opinions that in that case S.C.O. could decentralize into an organization with multiple centres of power, and even make it irrelevant (18).    
The nexus between energy, security and maritime power and S.C.O.’s role in China’s energy security.   

China’s two decades of rapid economic growth have fuelled a demand for energy that has outstripped domestic sources of supply. China became a net importer of oil in 1993 and it is projected that it will need to import some 60% of its oil and at least 30% of its natural gas by 2020. To appease its energy thirst, Beijing is making intense efforts to ensure energy security that include: investments in overseas oil exploration and development projects, discussions about the feasibility of several transnational oil and gas pipelines, plans to establish a strategic petroleum reserve, construction of refineries capable of handling crude oil from the Middle East, development of the natural gas industry, and the gradual opening of onshore areas to foreign companies for exploration and development.

China’s energy security activities can be explained in terms of Beijing’s long-standing fear of dependency on foreign energy as it regards oil imports as a strategic vulnerability that could be exploited by foreign powers seeking to influence China. As United States is perceived by many Chinese as uncomfortable with China’s rising power, the government views the U.S. as the primary threat to China’s energy security and wishes to minimise the vulnerability of its oil supply to American power. They regard their country as being especially vulnerable to American power in a world in which the United States is the sole superpower. More explicitly, the Chinese government is uncomfortable with the fact that the U.S. navy dominates the sea lanes stretching from the Persian Gulf to the South China Sea through which the bulk of China’s oil imports must pass. There is a concern that if Sino-U.S. relations sour, the United States could use its superior military power to disrupt China’s oil supply. Some even suggest that Washington has already implemented an ‘energy containment’ policy against China, who’s objective is to weaken China by gaining control of the energy resources in western China and blocking Beijing’s access to oil imports. 

China’s interest and investment in the development of Central Asian and Russian energy resources can be explained by the Chinese perception that these regions are less vulnerable to U.S. power than is the Persian Gulf and the sea-lanes connecting it to the South China Sea. Chinese even seem not to be annoyed by the U.S. military involvement in Central Asia as they consider it not directly threatening China’s energy security. Although the United States is a competitor for Central Asian energy resources, its ability to threaten China’s oil supply from this region is limited. Geography dictates that Central Asia’s energy cooperation with China is likely to be greater than the one with the United States (19).

The lack of a strong U.S. military presence in Central Asia explains China’s enthusiasm for the proposed 3000-Km long oil pipeline between China and Kazakhstan, as it would provide Beijing with an oil supply route that avoids the sea-lanes dominated by the U.S. Navy and passes through regions where China’s land power has the advantage. China freed by this serious strategic vulnerability, would not feel so much pressed by U.S.A. and Japan. In addition, China’s investment in Kazakhstan would be a means for China to expand its influence there. In addition, this pipeline would help to foster political stability along China’s Central Asian border, suffering from the Uighurs separatist ambitions by promoting their economic enfranchisement by investments in energy-development projects in Xingjian province. Due to these characteristics, the Chinese government overlooks various reports that dismiss the pipeline as economically infeasible, not so much for its cost of $3.5 billion as for fearing that the combined reserves of the Aktyubinsk and Uzen fields were not sufficient to justify it (20). 

The same motives make appealing to Chinese policy makers the development of the Siberian energy resources. A group of Chinese oil experts to call for the construction of a ‘pan-Asian continental oil bridge’ (1996) that would consist of a comprehensive network of pipelines linking suppliers in the Middle East, Central Asia, and Russia to consumers in China and possibly Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. Such a system would increase the availability of oil on the world market and oil trade between the countries involved, possibly supplying East Asia with up to 20% of its oil needs, not to mention the benefits for the security in Eurasia (21). The two countries are discussing the construction of an oil pipeline from Angarsk in Siberia either to the northern provinces of China via Mongolia, or to the north-eastern provinces, avoiding Mongolia. While Russia’s Ministry of Fuel and Energy is in favour or the first route because it is 170 Km shorter, Chinese officials prefer the second because of the lessened political risk. The pipeline, estimated to cost U.S. $2 billion, is expected to transport around 220 million barrels of oil per year. Nevertheless, whatever the route to be chosen, in this case, views are not unanimous. Many political figures in China, fear that in the event of a Sino-Russian crisis Russia would stop the flow of energy resources to China.    

In its anxious search for energy supply to its booming economy, Beijing seeks to apply in Central Asia hegemony in its right as a developing economy and a key component of a pan-Asian land bridge for energy and other goods. Thus, it is written that China “Should become a guide and a kind of courier station for the Central Asian states in their dealings with the Pacific countries and guide them to more economic cooperation and trade contacts in the Pacific. The ‘second Eurasian bridge’ is an important route for China to guide the Central Asian states through the Pacific… China should ensure that the economic development of its north-western part is connected not only with that of Central Asia but also with overall economic development in Eurasia. Looked at in this way, there is stronger motivation and greater scope for its economic relations with the Central Asian states” (22).

China’s economic and trade policies aim to tie Central Asian states into an expanding trade with the P.R.C. and give them significant economic motives for not supporting Xingjian’s unrest lest Beijing terminate that lucrative trade and investment. Thus China, aims at securing critical political advantage vis-à-vis weaker Central Asian governments who need the Chinese market by putting an end to unrest in Xingjian, and also creates a sphere of relationships, if not influence that constrains local options vis-à-vis Beijing. China has sought to use major domestic energy corporations to extend political influence into Kazakhstan. This country, historically a borderland between Russia and South Asia, is now equally so between western China and the expanded post Soviet Middle East stretching from North Africa to the South Caucasus. Under these circumstances, it is not surprising that energy producing Central Asian states are wary of what Chinese objectives might be above and beyond purely market relationships. 

This wariness about Chinese objectives is exacerbated by the peculiarities of China’s approach to the energy issue. First, although China’s preferred instrument for most political transactions in Central Asia is the S.C.O., it has not figured in Beijing’s energy acquisitions. Despite its talk of multipolarity in world politics, China will not multilateralize discussions about its access to energy. Instead it prefers bilateral discussions with energy producers because it is in that way that it can most effectively maximize its leverage upon the individual producer. Second, China’s policies aim at maximizing the reliability of long-term supplies through control of the product or of equity shares in the producing company from wellhead to terminal. It seems that the key driving force from the Chinese government point of view is the desire to enhance the security of the country’s  petroleum supply through owing both the resource in the ground and, where relevant, the transport network (23). China seeks a percentage of annual oil output by becoming a direct investor or shareholder to shield itself against significant price fluctuations for oil imports. Building up a strategic petroleum reserve, also aims to ensure reliable supplies at accessible prices. Even when buying pipeline networks at home and abroad, it looks for controlling the oil and gas shipped from Central Asia, the Gulf, and Russia.         

Analyst Stephen J. Blank, suggest that China’s willingness to provide military assistance, missile or nuclear technology to energy producers, e.g. Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan, even to commit its own forces beyond its borders to Central Asian states, as stipulated in the 2001 treaty creating the S.C.O., suggest a potentially forceful reply or increased support for missile and even nuclear proliferation in reply to threats to its energy supplies (24). Such an approach makes Central Asian states nervous. It raises also Russian fears, because Russian control over Central Asian energy, monopolized production, refining, pipelines and sales, is necessary for Russia’s sustainable economic growth and freedom of maneuver in world politics. Thus, Russian contemplation of long-term trends connected with China’s economic activities in Central Asia is influenced by its knowledge that only China has the long-term means and local presence to challenge Russia’s presence in Central Asia, even if it now accepts Russian leadership there (25).   

Beijing’s activity in Central Asia raises fears also in the Kazakhstani part. Kazakhstan, historically a borderland between Russia and South Asia, is now equally so between western China and the expanded post Soviet Middle East stretching from North Africa to the South Caucasus. This country is nowadays part of an emerging triangle in East Central Asian geo-economics anong Russia and China, in which energy cooperation is a linchpin but, as we see, the ententes themselves go far beyond energy (26). China has met with every conceivable kind of obstacle to the objective of obtaining reliable supplies from and access to Kazakh energy sources. Beijing has encountered Kazakhstan’s and Russia’s growing insistence on national and state control of their valuable strategic assets and Kazakh population’s irritation at the presence of Chinese managers and companies overseeing their workers and owning their land, and Russian opposition to China’s direct presence in Kazakhstan’s market. Astana’s reaction has turned increasingly negative with legislative and political pressure being brought to bear upon the government to take control of energy firms, so that Kazakhstan’s most strategic asset, energy does not pass into foreign hands.

Equally negative has been the Russian officials’ reaction to being merely China’s source of raw materials and demand equal status in economic-technological exchanges with China (27). These officials also blocked the sale of Slavneft to China, successfully destroyed Yukos, the company that favoured a direct Russo-Chinese oil sale and pipeline from Angara to Daqing and the partly subsidized by Japan extension of the pipeline to Nakhodka. Chinese buyers would then have to buy from Japan rather than directly from Russia. Russia also resists either Chinese moves towards equity shares and hence ownership or control in Central Asian energy markets, or the potential independence of Central Asian producers. Hence monopolization of energy sales from Central Asia is an essential component of Russian neo-imperialism there and in regard to China, one of Russia’s few options for gaining some leverage vis-à-vis its Asian ambitious neighbour.   

Therefore, despite protestations of mutual identity of interests and eternal friendship in high-level Sino-Russian meetings or in S.C.O. institutions, the reality in energy and economics has been actually mutual suspicion and tough bargaining. Chinese also face a dilemma. They can rely largely upon Russian energy but then would depend on a state they perceive as increasingly unreliable. Russian leaders want to sell China that this energy because they want the market and the leverage on China that it provides, since they otherwise only can use arms sales as leverage vis-à-vis China. But doing so then angers Japan and leaves Russia dependent upon a single, monopolistic consumer. Although the most recent evidence suggests that the Siberian pipeline will probably go first to China and only then to Japan, Russia’s constant flirtations with both states make this an inherently unstable situation that could deteriorate for both political and economic reasons (28).

Thus not only is there a visible economic rivalry between Beijing and Moscow, especially in regard to energy, there is also a subterranean or masked bur real strategic rivalry, that makes the unbreakable strategic partnership of the two countries against American pretensions in Northeast and Central Asia an anomaly (29). China indeed has limited success in securing its vital interests of reliable energy supplies under its control from Russia or Kazakhstan. Consequently, in view of the centrality of this issue for China’s domestic stability, its global foreign policies, and for regional developments in and around Central Asia, the future course of  its quest for Eurasian energy supplies must and surely will exercise a profound impact upon energy markets and upon both China’s internal stability and international affairs in general (30).        


China’s energy hunger has become a driving factor in contemporary world politics and a precondition for sustaining China’s continuing high economic growth, which are the government’s major task and the basic rationale for its continuing legitimacy. Indeed, Chinese officials approach the question of reliable access to energy from a geopolitical oblique strategic standpoint. Chinese energy policy, accordingly, has been a political and strategic rather than market-driven policy.

The requirements of ensuring energy security, e.g. by keeping the Malacca Straits open and preventing America or other states from interdicting Chinese energy flows of gas, oil, and electricity, apparently drive Beijing’s long term military modernization. China’s policymakers fear that energy vulnerability gives America apolitical weapon with which to ‘contain China’ or that strife in the Gulf and elsewhere in the Indian Ocean, if not Taiwan, could cut off its vital energy resources. There exist a remarkable nexus between energy, security and maritime power that actually makes things move in Eurasia that is in Central and Northeast Asia. On the other hand, Russia, although essential partner of S.C.O., has systematically obstructed China’s efforts to obtain independent access to Central Asian oil and gas fields or firms, not to mention any hope of equity ownership in Central Asia or in Russia.

Despite rhetoric about multipolarity, China has that far shunned multilateral discussions within Shanghai Cooperation Organization about its access to energy, preferring to making bilateral deals with Central Asian states, Russia, Iran, India or Pakistan, either about the acquisition of energy fields, firms or the construction of pipelines. The results have been very chickened indeed. In that way, S.C.O. a primarily security mechanism, hasn’t yet provided its outmost as far as energy security is concerned.Recently, China has leaked hints that it expects S.C.O. to set up an energy working group to study proposals for the construction of pipelines among the members (31). It seems so that China begins reconsidering its entire energy strategy, and besides starting its own strategic reserve and making major gas and oil deals with several countries around the world, tries to make up things on the multilateral basis as well. That might suggest a rising interest in multilateral energy associations and a certain scepticism about the virtues of Beijing’s previous unilateralist policy. Evidently, China stands at the crossroads of a new energy policy, perched between the old statist, dirigiste, and mercantilist paradigm and a newer, more market-friendly one.
S.C.O. is well positioned to initiate such cooperation over energy, in an effort to improve political relations among the organization’s members. China is using this organization as the primary multilateral organization in the region, which makes the task easier to accomplish. However, in order for the S.C.O. to act as a vehicle of energy security in Eurasia, the organization would need to open itself to the United States as an observer, especially since the U.S. cannot be seriously excluded from region-wide discussions. In that way, more mutual confidence could be ensured not only between Russia and America, but also, and more importantly, in the 21st century global context, between America and China.-


1.From 1990 to 2001 “East Turkestan” separatists launched more than 200 terrorist attacks in Xingjian, killing 162 and injuring 440. “East Turkestan Terrorist Forces Cannot Get Away with Impunity”, People’s Daily, January 22, 2002
2.From 35,47 million tons in 1997, China’s import of oil accounted 100 million tons in 2004. It originates 50% from Middle East and 22% from Africa. Tian Chunrong, “Analyses on China’s Oil Import and Export in 2002 year”, International Petroleum Economics, 2003 No 3, p. 26
3.Zbigniew Brzezinski ‘A Geostrategy for Eurasia’ ( 1997
4.Sergei Blagov, “Shanghai Cooperation Organization and its Future”, (, April 29, 2002
5.Stephen Blank, “The Shanghai Cooperation Organization and its Future”, Central Asia and Caucasus Analyst, May 22, 2002
6.Robert Cutler, “U.S. Intervention in Afghanistan: Implications for Central Asia”, Foreign Policy in Focus, 21 November, 2001
7.Borys Parakhonsky, “Central Asia: Geostrategic Survey”, Central Asia and the Caucasus Information and Analytical Centre, June 2000 (
8.Eugene B. Rumer, “Flashman’s Revenge: Central Asia after September 11”, Strategic Forum, No 195, December 2000, p. 3
9.Jiang, Z., “Full text of Jiang Zemin’s Report at the 16th Party Congress”, 16th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, September 8, 2002
10.Ren Dongfeng, “The Central Asia Policies of China, Russia and the USA, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Process: a View from China”, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), October – December 2003, p. 6
11.Nikolai Sokov, “The Not – So Great Game in Central Asia”, Monterey Institute of International Studies, Ponars Policy Memo No 403, December 2005, p. 228
12.Peng, Y., “Post – September 11 Sino-U.S. Ties”, Contemporary International Relations, Vol. 11, No 11, November 2001, p. 21
13.Gill, B. and Oresman, M., “China’s New Journey to the West”, CSIS Report, August 2003, p. 28. The Western consortium managing the exploitation of the Kashagan oilfield (Kazakhstan) blocked the attempted $ 1.2 billion purchase of British Gas’ stake by the two Chinese companies.
14.White A., “Guiding the ‘Newswar Abroad’- Russia and the Shanghai Cooperation organization”, The China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly, July 2005, p. 31
15.Trenin D., “Russia and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization: A Difficult Match”, The China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly, July 2005, p. 26
16.Communiqué of the G-8 summit (Gleneagles, July 2005)
17.Trenin D., ibid, p. 27
18.Zhao Huasheng, “China, Russia, and the United States: Prospects for Cooperation in Central Asia”, The China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly, Winter 2005, p. 36
19.Gu Guanfu, “Meiguo dui Zhongya de jieruyu Zhongguo anquan” (“U.S. Involvement in Central Asia and the Security of China”), in Guoji Xingshi fenxi baogao (Study Reports on the International Situation), Beijing: China Society for Strategy and Management Research, 1998, pp. 56-57
20.Ross R.S., “The Geography of the Peace: East Asia in the Twenty – First Century”, International Security, Vol. 23, No 4, Spring 1999, p. 108
21.“Experts Call for a Pan-Asian Oil Bridge”, Xinhua, June 16, 1996, in WNC (Document ID: Odt7tt303s348w)
22.Guancheng Xing, “China and Central Asia”, Roy Allison and Lena Jonson, Eds., Central Asian Security (Washington, D.C.: Brooking Institution Press, 2001), p. 157-158
23.Philip Andrew – Speed and Sergei Vinogradov, “China’s Involvement in Central Asia Petroleum: Convergent or Divergent Interests?”, Asian Survey, XL,2 (March – April 2000), p. 390
24.Stephen Blank, “China, Kazakh Energy and Russia: An Unlikely Ménage a Trois”, The China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly, V. 3, No 3, November 2005, p. 102
25.Stephen Blank, “Energy, Economics, and Security in Central Asia: Russia and its Rivals”, Carlisle Barracks, P.A.: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, 1995, p. 30
26.Cutler R.M., Emerging Triangles: Russia – Kazakhstan – China”, (, 2004
27.Sergei Blagov, “Russia Wants to be More than China’s Source of Raw materials”, Eurasia Daily Monitor, September 30, 2005
28.“Siberian Pipeline to Go to China First”, Alexander’s Oil and Gas Connections, September 28, 2005, (
29.David Kerr, “The Sino-Russian Partnership and U.S. Policy Toward North Korea: From Hegemony to Concert in North-East Asia”, International Studies Quarterly, 49, September 3, 2005, p. 411-437
30.Stephen Blank, “China, Kazakh Energy and Russia”, ibid, p. 109
31.“Central Asia Plans Energy Cooperation”, Alexander’s Oil and Gas Connections, February 9, 2006 (

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