Chinese expansion in Central Asia dissolves like sugar in hot tea
Material posted: Publication date: 17-06-2018
Mao Zedong once said, - the border of China and the Soviet Union should take place in Tashkent. Since neither the USSR nor the Great Helmsman, but his legacy of China continues to perform. At the moment Central Asia is increasingly reminiscent of the void between the blocks of Russia and China, pressed to "wild field" of Afghanistan. While we puzzled over the problems of labor migration from the republics of the region, the region itself quietly begins to take over our South-Eastern neighbour. Not to conquer by force of arms, namely to absorb with the help of money.

In 2013, Beijing became the main creditor of Tajikistan, providing more than 40% of all foreign loans of the country. In the first quarter of 2017, the size of the Tajik external debt has reached 2.28 billion dollars, of which 52,6% are loans to China. It only gets worse. The government of the country until 2019 plans to attract more 0,967 billion. external loans. Due to the weakness of the Tajik economy and large domestic financial difficulties in the Western credit institutions to provide money not in a hurry. Or require them frankly draconian interest. So, most likely, the largest part of new loans will again provide a China.

Experts predict the pace, the share of Beijing in the debt of Central Asian countries in 2025 has the potential to exceed 60%. Although the situation in different republics varies, for example, now from $ 4.2 billion. external debt of Kyrgyzstan "Chinese" are only 1.7 billion - the overall trend of China's economic expansion remains the same everywhere. In the same Kyrgyzstan six years ago was should China only $ 500 million.

The essence of its strategy, the Red dragon presented in 2004 at the SCO Summit in Tashkent. Beijing does not give money just like that. All loans have some features in common. They are cheap, formally from 1.3 to 3% per annum, but the average is often in the range of 1.8-2.2%. They are long, usually up to 20 years or more. They have a long and 3-3,5 years grace period. For the republics belonging to poor borrowers in the US and Europe, all of this is almost manna from heaven.

However, the free cheese is only in a mousetrap. Chinese kindness here is not an exception. Beijing credits the projects only according to a clear list of their interests: extraction and transportation of energy resources; creation and modernization of power generation; the development of transport infrastructure and mining. Not surprisingly, the most active Chinese investors observed primarily in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, rich in natural resources. Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan they are interested in less. But as you can see from the numbers, even this "less" is still overwhelming.

Along with the large businesses in the region are actively penetrates a small business and just Chinese labor migration. Six million in Kyrgyzstan today, there are more than 200 thousand Chinese. At first glance, like a little, but do not forget that only ten years ago there were less than 18 thousand it is Important to note that, together with migrants actively comes their culture. To date, the Chinese in the Central Asian republics control up to a third of establishments, up to a quarter of the local construction and even in agriculture, especially the food, they take up 35-37% of the volume of local production.

While immigrants tend to learn the local languages, including the still popular in Russian Central Asia, but clearly visible and feedback. To succeed in business with the Chinese, and especially to get a job to them, requires at least a cursory knowledge of the Chinese language, and it begins in a fairly massive scale to teach.

Thus, formally, one would not seizing, China has steadily and successfully binds Central Asia not only economically, but also culturally. A continuation of this trend suggests that after a period of active life of one generation, i.e. by around 2040-2050 years, Russia has all the chances of losing influence in the Central Asian region finally.

Alexander Zapolskis


Tags: Central Asia , China