China's New Journey to the West
August 1, 2003
One of the most intriguing developments in Central Asia over the past decade has been China's renewed attention to diplomacy in the region. China's interest in building relations with Central Asia is not startling given its history, but the agility and creativity it has recently exercised in doing so has taken many by surprise. China has moved rapidly from the difficult task of delineating and disarming its borders with Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan to building a multilateral organization and growing economic and security ties, all the while working to alleviate traditional suspicions among Central Asian states about the Chinese government's true intentions. This report argues that China's prominence in Central Asia will grow over the next decade, particularly if Russia's position continues to wane and the strategic attention of the United States is drawn elsewhere in the years ahead.
Bates Gill holds the Freeman Chair in China Studies at CSIS. Previously, he was a senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution. Matthew Oresman is project coordinator for the Freeman Chair at CSIS.