Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Central Asian Factors in Energy Relationship between China and Russia

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Central Asian Factors in Energy Relationship between China and Russia

Article excerpt

Abstract

After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, central Asian countries that acquired independence received high attention from great powers inside and outside the region in terms of their important geostrategic position, abundant energy and resource reserves and diversified and heterogeneous cultural patterns. Cooperation relationship of energy is an important component in foreign relations of central Asian countries. Being the major two neighboring nations of central Asian countries, China and Russia attach great importance to commercial interests, national security and geopolitical concern of central Asian countries and depend on each other in terms of preventing other great powers from intervening in central Asian affairs and maintaining regional security and stability. Central Asian region is the indispensable geostrategic space in development of China and Russia in the future, and mutual competition and negative influences caused thereby are inevitable, but this has also created opportunities for the two nations to go further into more extensive and profound cooperation. As regional cooperation and security schema, establishment of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) reflects the common interests of China and Russia in maintaining security of the Eurasia, which, simultaneously, has become a positive platform to coordinate energy relationship of the two countries in the central Asian region and to strengthen their cooperation.

Keywords: energy relationship between China and Russia, central Asian factors, energy interests, Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)

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With disintegration of Soviet Union in the 90s of the Twentieth Century, great changes have taken place in the geopolitical situation of the entire central Asian region. Central Asian countries have received high attention from great powers inside and outside the region in terms of their important geostrategic position, abundant energy and resource reserves and diversified and heterogeneous cultural patterns. Cooperation relationship of energy is an important component in foreign relations of central Asian countries.

China is one of the countries that have earlier comprehensive bilateral and multilateral cooperation with central Asian countries. Especially in the past several years when economy of China has been rapidly developed and China's dependency on foreign countries in terms of energy has been on the increase year by year, it has become a realistic and feasible strategic choice to maintain energy safety in China to increase import of energy from neighboring central Asian countries. Since the resource endowment, development capacity and actual distribution of the five central Asian countries are totally different, focus of China on energy cooperation within this region in terms of cooperation targets and fields is mainly on oil gas cooperation with Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan as well as cooperation with Kazakhstan in terms of atomic energy (since 2005).

As for Russia which has, all the time, regarded the central Asian region as a traditional sphere of influence, considering consistency of strategic interests of China and Russia and out of the strategic consideration to check and balance US and Europe so as to maintain balance of all external powers, it has actually acquiesced in penetration of Chinese capital in the central Asian region in the past few years. Nevertheless, mutual competition between China and Russia still exists within this region. Furthermore, this competition might be aggravated with Russia thoroughly initiating its modernization progress. Currently, economic modernization has been placed to the political agenda of Russian government which has determined its strategy for industrial innovative development and which proposed that they would change their dependence on energy and raw materials by the year 2020 and transfer to an innovative development mode. …

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