Central Asia lies at the heart of China’s transformative vision for how international affairs should be shaped. As the cradle of the Belt and Road Initiative, the region is emblematic of China's wider concept as it has been a focus of China’s rise across economic, diplomatic, cultural and security domains for the past two decades or more. Yet, despite its significance, we know relatively little about China’s presence in Central Asia. A region where China's influence has been quietly expanding in a more pervasive way and which has recently been highlighted once again through events in Afghanistan and Kazakhstan. What are China’s objectives in Central Asia? How do these compete or coalesce with Moscow's more paternalistic view of the region? To what extent has Beijing built a sphere of influence with Chinese characteristics and what does all this mean for the future of Eurasian geopolitics and Western engagement in the region?
Following the publication of Raffaello Pantucci and Alexandros Petersen’s recent book Sinostan: China’s Inadvertent Empire, LSE IDEAS China Foresight hosts a webinar to explore China’s foreign policy in Central Asia and what this means for those living both within and beyond the boundaries of China’s ‘inadvertent empire.’
This webinar was held on Wednesday 6 April 2022.
Raffaello Pantucci is a Senior Associate Fellow of RUSI and was formerly Director of International Security Studies. He is a Senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. His research focuses on terrorism and counter-terrorism as well as China's relations with its Western neighbours.
Chris Alden is Director of LSE IDEAS and Professor of International Relations at The London School of Economics and Political Science.