Guoping also said that Russia would like to more support from the United States for its insistence on a privileged sphere of influence in Central Asia, in exchange for greater cooperation in Afghanistan. “Russia is convinced that they must dominate Central Asia and the Caucasus. They believe they have vital, strategic, historical interests in the region, “Guoping said. When pressed by the Ambassador to express his own opinion, Guoping said, “I personally do not agree that Russia should be granted a special sphere of influence in the region, but that is their biew.”
Guoping said that Russia owns and controls most of Central Asia’s pipelines, but it cannot prevent the ultimate diversification of export routes.” He said that Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan are close to Russia, but they nevertheless understand that they must seek and develop alternatives. He predicted that they will soon “break the Russian monopoly” on the export of hydrocarbons from the region and said the oil and gas pipelines to China now under construction will be “very important” in that regard.
Guoping said China sees “great potebtial for an energy partnership with U.S. companies in Central Asia,” including the development of onshore resources in Turkmenistan.
Guoping called him (President Nazarbaev) a “wise and mature statesman,” who has presided over a period of remarkable stability and economic growth. He praised President Nazarbaev’s foreign policy skills and added that China’s MFA has “great respect” for President Nazarbaev and holds him in high regard.
Referring to the Manas air base, Guoping said that the government of Kyrgyzstan has tried to show similar sophistication in balancing the interests of the great powers in the neighborhood, but has been much less successful.
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