Building Neighbourly Policy Through Oil: China's Oil Diplomacy in Central Asia

Building Neighbourly Policy Through Oil: China's Oil Diplomacy in Central Asia

Kelly de Souza Ferreira (PUC Campinas, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3503-5.ch009

Abstract

China has always tried to maintain a stable and peaceful environment in the territories on its borders and has made great efforts to ensure that all the countries of Central Asia have remained under its influence since 1949. Consequently, increased U.S. presence in Central Asia has caused great discomfort in Chinese policy circles. One Chinese approach to the countries of this region is to engage Central Asian nations through channels relating to energy, and oil in particular. In recent years, Chinese oil companies have purchased rights and exploited reserves of oil and natural gas in many Central Asian countries. Through its oil companies, the Chinese establishment strengthens and deepens bonds of friendship with countries like Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan. This practice has become known as 'oil diplomacy.' This new tool offers the Chinese government two benefits, as it engenders both the increased projection of Chinese geopolitical power and the dilution of U.S. influence in the region.
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Introduction

China has always tried to maintain a stable and peaceful environment in the territories on its borders and has made great efforts to ensure that all the countries of Central Asia have remained under its influence since 1949. Consequently, increased U.S. presence in central Asia has caused great discomfort in Chinese policy circles. One Chinese approach to the countries of this region is to engage Central Asian nations through channels relating to energy, and oil. In recent years, Chinese oil companies have purchased rights and exploited reserves of oil and natural gas in many Central Asian countries. Through its oil companies, the Chinese establishment strengthens and deepens bonds of friendship with countries like Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan. This practice has become known as 'oil diplomacy.' This new tool offers the Chinese government two benefits, as it engenders both the increased projection of Chinese geopolitical power and the dilution of U.S. influence in the region. This article aims to explain what the Chinese interests in Central Asia are and how oil diplomacy allows for this twofold effect.

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