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Ruslan Izimov, Zamira Muratalieva

The Central Asian Track of the One Belt One Road Initiative: Opportunities and Risks

2018. Vol. 13. No. 3. P. 128–142 [issue contents]

With the exception of Turkmenistan, Central Asian countries have consistently viewed foreign policy as a multivector activity since their independence more than 25 years ago. In the past, this strategy has shown its effectiveness and irreplaceability. Striving to maintain a delicate balance between the interests of global and regional empires, Kazakhstan and other countries in the region continue to pursue a multivector policy today. However, this task becomes more complicated year by year as competition between regional actors gathers pace. In that respect, the emergence and implementation of the Chinese One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, which objectively increases the dependence of countries in the region on China, plays a special role.

This article reviews the emergence and implementation of China’s OBOR initiative in Central Asia. The authors set forth Beijing’s foreign policy strategy with respect to the initiative in terms of its main components in Central Asia.

The cooperation of Kazakhstan and China is separately considered within the framework of the concept of linking the “Nurly Jol” state programme of infrastructural development for 2015–2019 and OBOR. Given the long-term nature of this project, forecasts are provided for the interaction of the Central Asian states with PRC within the framework of the Chinese initiative.

Additional issues relating to the coexistence of several projects in the Eurasian space, in which Kazakhstan and other countries of the region participate, are also considered. In particular, the authors analyze the role and place given by Chinese authorities to Russia within the OBOR strategy. Despite the official statements of the authorities or established plans (Beijing-Moscow high-speed railway, highway, etc.), China generally assigns an insignificant place to Russia in its strategy. Moreover, by offering road construction projects to Moscow, Beijing apparently expects to divert Russia’s attention from its own plans in Central Asia. Against this background, there is a clear response from Moscow which is most evident in Russia’s desire to actively promote the Greater Eurasian Partnership project.

Citation: Izimov R., Muratalieva Z. (2018) The Central Asian Track of the One Belt One Road Initiative: Opportunities and Risks. International Organisations Research Journal, vol. 13, no 3, pp. (in Russian and English). DOI: 10.17323/1996-7845-2018-03-09.
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