China's President Xi Jinping and Kyrgyzstan's President Almazbek Atambayev (photo: dpa)

China makes its play in Central Asia’s ‘Great Game’

The Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan were under Soviet control until 1991. Now they are being wooed by Russia and China. Moscow is concentrating on security, Beijing on energy resources. Although the two great powers have been reluctant to provoke any form of conflict in mutual relations in the region, this ‘axis of convenience’ is coming under increasing strain.

<em>Relations between Russia and China have never been better. But under the surface there is trouble brewing. A recent increase in Chinese activity in Central Asia suggests that the rivals may be headin...

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Professor Stefan Hedlund
The bottom line is that Moscow has grossly overplayed its hand. Its practice of playing potential customers off against each other has led to questioning of its reliability as a supplier
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