China is ready to help Central Asian nations bolster their security and defense capabilities, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) said at a summit of the region’s leaders, underscoring Beijing’s efforts to deepen its influence there as an expansionist Russia raises fresh security issues.
China can help the region improve its “law enforcement, security and defense capability construction,” Xi said during a keynote speech at the inaugural in-person China-Central Asia Summit, Xinhua news agency reported.
He said China would provide 26 billion yuan (US$3.7 billion) in financing support and “free assistance” to the countries.
The event assembled the leaders of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan for two days in the Chinese city of Xian, where they discussed ways to deepen ties on everything from defense to finance, trade and energy.
The summit came as US President Joe Biden joined other G7 leaders in Japan this week to discuss, among other things, measures to counter perceived Chinese threats to global economic security. The simultaneous meetings symbolized an increasingly multipolar world, as China tries to challenge the US-led system.
While Russia and China are united in that mission to counter Washington, Xi’s gathering of five former Soviet states without Russian President Vladimir Putin demonstrates Beijing’s increasingly senior position in their “no limits” relationship.
Since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, the Kremlin has become reliant on China to provide economic cover from Western sanctions and much-needed diplomatic support.
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin would next week lead a delegation to a Shanghai business forum that has also invited sanctioned tycoons, exemplifying how China can shelter Moscow from Western economic sanctions.
At the summit, Xi also stressed that Central Asia has the “conditions and capabilities” to become a Eurasian hub, adding that their “sovereignty, security, independence and territorial integrity” must be “safeguarded.”
That emphasis on their “sovereignty” came weeks after Chinese Ambassador to France Lu Shaye (盧沙野) sparked a firestorm when he questioned the independence of former Soviet states during a television interview.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February last year deepened a tussle for influence in the resource-rich Central Asian states, which were already on a trajectory of economic realignment toward China.
Last year, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan each did more trade with China than with either Russia or the G7 bloc, the IMF said.
Chinese imports from the region are mostly commodities, including cotton, oil, natural gas and copper, official trade data showed.
China made some inroads on other economic ties during this week’s summit.
On Thursday, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan vowed to ensure the stable supply of gas to China.
The two countries combined accounted for about 6.4 percent of China’s gas imports in 2021, but Uzbekistan last year began reducing Chinese exports so it could keep more fuel for its growing domestic petrochemical industry.
In Taipei, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday strongly protested and condemned four joint statements issued by China and four Central Asian countries supporting China’s territorial claim over Taiwan.
The leaders of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan separately signed bilateral statements with Xi following the China-Central Asia Summit, according to the ministry.
The statements, which claimed that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory, deviated from the fact that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (ROC) have never been subordinate to each other and Taiwan has never been ruled by the PRC, MOFA said.
No country has the right to deny the existence of the ROC, nor are they able to do so by issuing a joint statement with China, the ministry said via a press release.
Additional reporting by CNA
CALL FOR PEACE: Czech President Petr Pavel raised concerns about China’s military maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait and its ‘unfriendly action’ in the South China Sea The leaders of three diplomatic allies — Guatemala, Paraguay and Palau — on Tuesday voiced support for Taiwan’s inclusion in the UN on the first day of the UN General Debate in New York. In his address during the 78th UN General Assembly, Palauan President Surangel Whipps Jr urged the UN and all parties involved in cross-strait issues to exercise restraint and seek a peaceful resolution. “The well-being and prosperity of nations and their economies are intrinsically linked to global peace and stability,” he said. He also thanked partner nations such as Taiwan, Australia, Japan and the US for providing assistance
CROSS-STRAIT CONCERNS: At the same US Congress hearing, Mira Resnick said a US government shutdown could affect weapons sales and licenses to allies such as Taiwan A Chinese blockade of Taiwan would be a “monster risk” for Beijing and likely to fail, while a military invasion would be extremely difficult, senior Pentagon officials told the US Congress on Tuesday. Growing worries of a conflict come as China has ramped up military pressure on Taiwan, holding large-scale war games simulating a blockade on the nation, while conducting near-daily warplane incursions and sending Chinese vessels around its waters. US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner said a blockade would be “a monster risk for the PRC [People’s Republic of China].” “It would likely not succeed, and it
AMPHIBIOUS EXERCISES: The defense ministry said that it had detected 24 Chinese PLA Air Force planes entering Taiwan’s air defense zone over the previous 24 hours Chinese movements around Taiwan were “abnormal,” Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) said yesterday, flagging recent amphibious exercises in addition to drills Taipei has observed in China’s Fujian Province. Taiwan has reported a rise in Chinese military activity over the past week as dozens of fighters, drones, bombers and other aircraft, as well as warships, have operated around the nation. “Our initial analysis is that they are doing joint drills in September, including land, sea, air and amphibious,” Chiu told reporters at the legislature in Taipei. The “recent enemy situation is quite abnormal,” he said. The comments followed a statement from the
IN MOURNING: Tsai visited the site and spoke with family members of those killed, while all the major presidential candidates said they would temporarily halt campaigning A fire and subsequent explosions at a golf ball factory at Pingtung Technology Industrial Park (屏東科技產業園區) killed at least seven people, including four firefighters, and injured 98, while three were still missing, authorities said yesterday. The blaze at Launch Technologies Co’s (明揚國際) plant on Jingjian Road raged for more than 12 hours after it started at about 5pm on Friday, officials said. The Pingtung County Fire Bureau early yesterday used large excavators to search for missing people, while family members waited at the scene. Pingtung County Fire Bureau Director Hsu Mei-hsueh (許美雪) said the bureau received a call about the fire at 5:31pm