As China has grown in the last 30 years, so have the often complicated relationships that the country shares with its many varied neighbors. In this ongoing series, we delve into those relationships and look at how an emerging China is affecting those closest to it.
Afghanistan was initially overlooked in Beijing’s hop-scotch shopping trip through Central Asia in the late 1990s. Having played an important role in the Afghan civil war and a key source of small arms to the Mujahideen during the war with the Soviets, China invested in Southeast Asia, Siberia and other Central Asian states. Now China is keen to invest in the country’s vast untapped reserves of oil natural gas. Read the complete article
The country of Bhutan shines like a jewel wedged between China and India. It remains one of the most mysterious places on earth, a land of stunning mountain ranges where mystics and monks have long searched for spiritual refuge, and both India and China continue to gain strength and influence, the Himalayan region that Bhutan inhabits is becoming strategically important. Read the complete article
China and India, half of the world’s population, continue to move closer and closer to one another; but it’s often hard to tell whether the proximity will result in an embrace or a donnybrook. Read the complete article
China, the second largest importer of oil in the world, is increasingly looking to its borders in the west as an answer to its energy needs, and that has meant building stronger ties with the neighboring country of Kazakhstan. The Central Asian state sits on the world’s eighth largest oil reserve. Given the right export routes, Kazakhstan’s production potential could propel it to become a major player in the oil industry. With new pipelines in the works, the Sino-Kazakh relationship has been a late bloomer with formal diplomatic relations between the two starting only after the state’s independence in 1991. It has also not been without its share of controversy. Read the complete article
The Kyrgyz Republic remains to be a country in the process of unraveling itself. It is the second smallest country of the five central Asian states bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east. Despite being a land blessed by breathtaking natural beauty, it is one of the poorest in the world with an estimated 40 percent of its population living below the poverty line. Read the complete article
Trade between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has boomed in the past 15 years, growing more than 20 percent a year, reaching US$160 billion last year. Much of that trade is dependent on a modern highway system throughout the region, but so far, the dream of a connected Southeast Asia is still just that. The infrastructure has yet to catch up with hard economic reality. To see the challenge set out, one only needs to board a bus in Kunming, bound for the border. Read the complete article
Today, a new wave of Chinese immigrants is flooding south. Far from the rich and powerful families that preceded them, these Chinese come from the country’s interior, a location that has missed much of the economic transformation of China’s eastern coast. These cooks, laborers, merchants and tourists are leaving behind their economically depressed regions, often for destinations even poorer. Read the complete article
Once the largest empire on Earth, today Mongolia is seeing its two powerful neighbors play a vital role in its development. Russia is the country’s top importer while China dominates its export market. Mongolia is a miner’s dream come true. The country boasts of 680 mineral deposit sites that contain stores of coal, copper, gold, silver, iron, wolfram, molybdenum, and fluorspar, to name a few. These minerals, base and precious metals are necessary for the production process of anything from energy to construction to mobile phones and transportation, everything China needs to powers its growing economy. Read the complete article
For all of its proximity to the world’s most promising neighbors, Myanmar might as well be another world. While it is the largest mainland country in Southeast Asia and rich in natural resources, it has become internationally isolated due to its current ruling junta, and now has to rely on China for material support.
Nepal is a country that traces its land at the spine of the great Himalayan mountain range. As a landlocked territory in South Asia, it acts as a buffer state between China to its north and India to its south, east and west. The country is poor but what it lacks in economic riches it makes up with its inspiring scenery and ancient culture. Read the complete article
North Korea and China trade amounted to US$1.7 billion in 2006 and reached US$1.25 billion for the first eight months of 2007. Helping North Korea is necessary if China wants to maintain stability at its border, foster more trade and, even more telling, insure itself from possible threat coming from democratic South Korea, Japan and the United States. China has picked up the role of diplomatic buffer to North Korea over the years. When the UN Security Council threatened to implement sanctions to penalize North Korea it was China who intervened for them. Read the complete article
Throughout Pakistan’s turbulent history, China has remained a constant ally, supplying military arms, jets and nuclear weapons. It is an enduring friendship based on strategic and geographic interests that is set to continue well into the 21st century. Read the complete article
Over the years, China and Russia relations have walked the tightrope between friendship and war. During the Cold War in the 1960s, relations were strained over ideological and eventually border issues. For years the two Soviet giants were at odds with each other, however, in the early 21st Century, the two sides formalized the and Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation, outlining plans in the next twenty years that would cover peaceful relations, economic cooperation, geopolitical reliance and more telling include a defense pact set to increase military cooperation. Read the complete article
Surrounded by Afghanistan to its south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east, Tajikistan relies on its rich resources of cotton and aluminum and its strategic location near Afghanistan to aid its slow climb out of a post-Soviet depression that has had a stranglehold on the country for over 20 years. China’s interest in stabilizing Central Asia and containing separatist movements in Xinjiang has pushed these two neighbors closer together. Read the complete article
If East Asian growth figures were taken into account and translated into basketball terms, China would clearly be its towering center with Vietnam hovering not far behind as its nimble point guard with 10.8 percent and 8.2 percent growth figures respectively slated for 2008, according to the World Bank. Of late, China’s ambitions have led it to carefully plot economic alliances with its Asian neighbors to jockey its ascent to the path of becoming a superpower. It was only natural that it should make its most strategic moves to penetrate mainland Southeast Asia through expanding its relations with Vietnam. Read the complete article