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China presses Russia in Central Asia

Created under the auspices of the China Alliance of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan will become an alternative to the CSTO in the region

 Китай теснит Россию в Центральной Азии

Photo: REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

The formation of the political Alliance of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan under the auspices of China has become one of the topics of the talks between the special envoy of the Russian President for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulova and special envoy on Afghanistan, the foreign Ministry of the PRC Deng Setsunan held March 15 in Moscow.

As have informed “news” Kabulov, the main topic of the talks was the situation in Afghanistan, originating from the threats and challenges to the interests of Russia and China and the cooperation between the two countries in this regard without reference to a fundamentally new strategic partnership “Quartet” — Beijing, Islamabad, Dushanbe and Kabul.

— Discussed the recent visit to Kabul, chief of the General staff of the Chinese army, which promised 300 million yuan to strengthen the armed forces and police. We have our own relationship with Kabul, we have also provided assistance.

According to Kabulov, said at the meeting and on the economic component, because the Chinese are already investing in different projects on Afghan territory.


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— We agreed to consider the possibility of joint participation in the projects on the territory of Afghanistan, but without specifics, said the special representative of the President.

At the same time, the cooperation of the Quartet on the creation of a new security system in the region was also affected. According to Kabulov, “this is a positive move.”

— It is only about control of the borders, curbing the infiltration of terrorists. This does not mean that China intends to use the armed forces, said Kabulov. — We don’t want to join. We have plans in the framework of the CSTO. The more we are with China within the SCO framework these topics are discussed.

In Moscow, they understand the concerns of China’s situation in Afghanistan — China concerned about stability in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous region, where the militants-separatists. This explains the choice of countries for cooperation.

In Dushanbe passed the earlier talks between the chiefs of General staff of China, Tajikistan and Pakistan. Then the chief of the General staff of the people’s liberation army of China Colonel-General Fan of Fanhua March 2, arrived in Kabul, where, in addition to political interaction and coordination of law enforcement, we spoke about the formation of the contractual legal framework between Beijing, Islamabad, Dushanbe and Kabul on security in the region.

According to the expert of the Center of studying of modern Afghanistan Andrey Serenko, Russia — bad story, because Moscow does not participate in the negotiation process.

— In a new Alliance of security, in addition to Pakistan and Afghanistan, China includes Tajikistan, Russia until recently considered as part of its zone of influence. Here we see the first point of misunderstanding between Beijing and Moscow, — says Serenko. — Passion for Russia, Ukraine, the Middle East has led to the fact that we are losing positions in Central Asia. It turns out that when you create a “Central Asian NATO” under the Chinese umbrella Russia could be someone else.

The set of countries chosen by Beijing, is clear, the Pakistanis control the Pashtuns and the Taliban and the Northern Alliance, located in the province of Northern Afghanistan populated by Uzbeks and Tajiks, is focused on Tajikistan.

According to the expert, Moscow and Beijing are competitors in the struggle for influence in Central Asia is not the first year. Moscow is trying in this fight to use political leverage, building the Eurasian Union, CSTO. China penetrates into the region through capital investment and infrastructure projects.

— This pool of States — Afghanistan, Tajikistan, China and Pakistan is a fundamentally new regional structure that will attract other countries in Central Asia, maybe Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. That is, Beijing is building a alternative of the CSTO security system in the region without Russia’s participation. If Moscow will not join the project, it will be the most telling sign that China does not see Russia as an ally in Central Asia, — said the expert.

At the same time Moscow will definitely loose control over Tajikistan. According to the analyst, in Tajikistan the Chinese control serious deposits of gold, plus the Tajik opposition say the President of the country Emomali Rahmon sold to Beijing large areas of the Tajik territory.

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