China offers a military alliance to Kazakhstan and four other countries of the former USSR

China continues to expand its “sphere of influence” in Central Asia, embracing the republics of the former USSR under its military and economic “umbrella”.

On Friday, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with the leaders of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and invited them to expand cooperation, including in the defense sector.

The group’s first-ever direct summit, dubbed C5, was held in Xi’an, the ancient capital of China, where the famous “Silk Road” originated in the past.

As a result of the talks, Xi announced China’s readiness to “strengthen the defense” of the Central Asian republics, increase their security capabilities in order to “ensure peace in the region,” state news agency Xinhua reported.

He also announced the allocation of 26 billion yuan ($3.6 billion) for financial support and “free assistance”, without specifying what these funds will be used for.

In the near future, China is likely to resume joint military exercises with post-Soviet countries, including with the participation of internal troops of the PRC, Temur Umarov, researcher at the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center told the Financial Times.

According to Umarov, a particularly interesting Beijing may be Tajikistan, which borders not only China, but also Afghanistan. “Tajikistan’s army is by no means the strongest in Central Asia. Therefore, from China’s point of view, this is only a continuation of actions aimed at ensuring their (own) national security” – the expert notes.

In the Kremlin’s orbit, post-Soviet Asian states seek to distance themselves from Russia, which has become “toxic” as a result of the war in Ukraine and Western sanctions. Kazakhstan, one of Russia’s largest trading partners in the former Soviet Union, has refused to support an invasion of Ukraine and last year signed an intelligence-sharing agreement with NATO member Turkey.

Moscow’s influence in the region is waning, but it is too early to say that China will completely replace it in the near future, said Chiniu Shih, a researcher at the Taiwan Institute of National Defense and Security. “It’s quiet competition,” he says.

According to Chinese official statistics, last year China’s trade with the C5 countries amounted to USD 70.2 billion, and 80% of goods traffic to Europe transited through these countries.


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