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China Strives to Secure Central Asia

Sep 29, 2016 | 09:15 GMT
A Chinese soldier participates in a joint military operation in Kyrgyzstan under the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, just one of China's many security initiatives in Central Asia.
(VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP/Getty Images)

For much of the last decade, China has been steadily increasing its ties with Central Asia, displacing Russia as the region's biggest trade partner in 2008. As its economic interests in the region have grown, so, too, have its security interests. China has established strategic partnerships with all five Central Asian countries, and it has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to help ensure security in the region. Beijing, for instance, has sold weapons and air defense systems to Turkmenistan. In February, China announced that it was in talks to open a counterterrorism center in Tajikistan's capital, Dushanbe, and in September Beijing unveiled plans to finance more outposts along Tajikistan's border with Afghanistan. With so much at stake in Central Asia, China seems to be redoubling its security initiatives in the region, but its presence there can only grow so much....

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