Academic journal article South Asian Studies

China Central Asia Relations and Opportunities for Pakistan

Academic journal article South Asian Studies

China Central Asia Relations and Opportunities for Pakistan

Article excerpt


Presently China's paramount role in Asia Pacific region has become perceptible in terms of political and economic spheres. It is challenging not only for the regional players like Japan, Korea, India and Russia but also global powers of United States and European Union as well. The People's Republic of China is geographically situated in East Asia, located between longitudes 73' and 135' east and latitudes 18' and 54' north. China being a most densely populated country of the world having adjoining borders with 14 countries and Pacific Ocean on East. China shares common borders with three central Asian states which are Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The latest statistics available with IMF about China's economy shows that China has become the world single largest economy in terms of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) and second largest economy in terms of GDP after US. The September quarter of 2016 reveals that the economy of China is expanding as annual growth rate of 6.7%. The soaring and burgeoning economy of China has created opportunities for regional economic cooperation for Central Asian neighboring states as well as the Asia Pacific region in general. During the last two decades the Chinese engagement and rise as a global economic and political power is substantive.

Central Asian region is composed of five states Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan which emerged on the map of the world after the breakup of USSR in 1991. The estimated population of Central Asia is about 66.5 million. In Geopolitical terms this region is considered as the core region of continent Asia. Historically Central Asia is also known as middle Asia, which has served as a crossroad of various ancient civilizations through Silk road bridging East Asia, West Asia, South Asia and Europe. In the North Central Asia stretches its borders with Russia, in the South with Afghanistan, in the East with China and in West it elongates it borders Caspian Sea. Almost all the Central Asian states have significant energy resources but landlocked in nature. The strategic location of Central Asia and its proximity with great powers like Russia and China is making this region vulnerable as a part of great game. The China's quest for energy resources and Russian control over oil and gas pipelines of Central Asian Republics has increased the significance of this region.

China Central Asia relations in the Mirror of the History

Prior to the independence of Central Asian Republics, this region endured under the strict autocratic regime of USSR (Soviet Union) for centuries. China played a marginal role in Central Asia despite of their geographical proximity during Russia's orbit spheres. Soon after the independence of Central Asia, China promptly recognized their independence and established diplomatic relations in December in 1991 in spite of certain reservations over the signed of unequal treaties with tsarist and European empires in the 19th century on border disputes. The relations between China and Soviet communist parties were lasted tense for many decades on the settlement of borders disputes and were bequeathed to newly formed Central Asian Republics. The depth of China and Central Asian relations and interests of China in central Asia are manifold in nature. It can be structured into following four phases.

First phase of China and Central Asian relations from 1991 to 1995

During the first phase of China and Central Asian relations the main emphasize of China was to resolve border disputes with Central Asia. China had agreed in 1989 to diminish their territorial claim on violent suppression in Tiananmen to only 34,000 km. China signed with Kazakhstan a border demarcation treaty to demilitarize the borders in 1994. The motive behind signing this treaty was also to curtail the muscularity of Uyghur separatist movement.

Second phase of China and Central Asian relations from 1996 to 2000

This period of China Central Asian states relations is considered as the confidence building period. …

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