There is a rivalry between China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Russia’s Central Asia strategy, columnist Lu Ssu-pin (魯斯濱) said in Taipei yesterday, while another expert said the future of the initiative would “determine the fate of Uighurs in Xinjiang.”
Lu made the comment at a panel discussion held by the Taiwan East Turkestan Association and moderated by association president Ho Chao-tung (何朝棟).
Lu, as well as Li Fu-chung (李福鐘), an associate professor at National Chengchi University’s Graduate Institute of Taiwan History, and Taiwan Thinktank advisory committee member Tung Li-wen (董立文), were invited as speakers to discuss the history of East Turkestan, now known as China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times
Russia has complicated feelings about Xinjiang, Lu said.
For Russia, the region is already being effectively controlled by China and as a result, in terms of Russia’s China strategy, Xinjiang is a place that no longer holds much “obvious strategic value,” he said.
This is why strategists in Kazakhstan and Russia have responded to reports of concentration camps in Xinjiang with a relatively cold attitude, Lu said.
“The most direct and obvious strategic confrontation between Russia and China is reflected in Kazakhstan,” he said, adding that the Central Asian country, which is geographically located between Russia and China, is also an indicator of relations between Moscow and Beijing.
Kazakhstan has not been a priority in US foreign policy for many years, Lu said, adding that it is unlikely that the US would become involved in matters there, as it would be slightly difficult for the US to get involved even in Belarus.
China was not that interested in Central Asia before 2013, but it later proposed the Belt and Road Initiative, he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s formation in 2010 of a customs union among Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan was aimed at curtailing China’s influence, Lu said.
However, due to factors such as plummeting oil prices, the COVID-19 pandemic and the US presidential election, Russia has temporarily paused its Central Asia strategy, he said, adding that Moscow is observing the international situation before it adjusts its strategy.
Few people in Taiwan have studied Xinjiang over the past two decades, while there is ample Mandarin and English-language material on Tibet, Tung said.
While the Belt and Road Initiative wields considerable economic power, it remains to be seen how long that power would last overseas, he said.
When other countries express diplomatic support for China and stand with Beijing not because of shared values, but for interests, they expect to receive benefits in return, Tung said.
He said he does not think China’s economic strategy will last long due to the country’s internal socioeconomic problems and the US-China trade dispute.
The development of the Belt and Road Initiative will “determine the fate of Uighurs in Xinjiang,” he said.
‘DISAPPOINTED’: It is time to change the nation’s name to ‘Taiwan,’ as there is solid support for Taipei in Washington, independence advocates said at a protest Taiwan independence advocates at a rally in Taipei yesterday demanded that the government take action to assert national sovereignty and engage in international diplomacy by using the name “Taiwan.” Led by Taiwan Republic Office director Chilly Chen (陳峻涵), members of pro-independence groups gathered outside the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) headquarters in the wake of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s remark last week that “Taiwan has not been a part of China.” President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and the DPP government must seize this opportunity to change the nation’s name to “Taiwan,” discard the “Republic of China”(ROC) title and establish diplomatic
A Taichung-based saxophone teacher was yesterday sentenced to 18 years in jail, for baiting girls to send him nude photographs and videos of themselves. The Taichung District Court found Ku Cheng-en (顧承恩), 32, guilty of contravening the Child and Youth Sexual Exploitation Prevention Act (兒童及少年性剝削防制條例), in 48 cases, involving 32 girls aged below 16. Prosecutors said that it began investigating the case after a girl in January last year filed a complaint against Ku, who is also a licensed street musician, suspecting that he might own pornographic material of underaged girls. Searching his premises, police found explicit photos and videos of 48 girls
The chief mechanic in an air force unit from which an F-16 and its pilot went missing last week died on Sunday evening in what might have been a suicide, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday. The ministry in a statement confirmed media reports that the mechanic, surnamed Huang (黃), “hurt himself” at a military barracks. Huang was taken to Hualien Armed Forces General Hospital after he was found unresponsive in the barracks, but doctors could not revive him, the ministry said. Huang served in the 26th Tactical Fighter Group of the 5th Tactical Fighter Wing, the same unit as the missing
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) last night said that it had no comment about reports that a senior US Navy officer had arrived in Taipei for a visit. Several media outlets reported that Rear Admiral Michael Studeman, director of intelligence of the US Indo-Pacific Command, arrived at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) on a special charter flight at about 7pm. The schedule of a “senior US official” in Taiwan would not be made public, the ministry said in a news release, without confirming the visit or the official’s identity. Interactions and exchanges between Taiwan and the US are common, and visits