Asian investment

By Qi Xijia Source:Global Times Published: 2015-10-18 18:23:01

China's investment in Central Asia has expanded hugely over the past decades. The launch of the Asian Investment Infrastructure Bank earlier this year highlights the country's economic and strategic plan in Central Asia.

Revolving around China's cooperation in Central Asia and the implications for peace and stability, more than 10 scholars and researchers from China, Britain, Italy and Kyrgyzstan attended a recent seminar co-hosted by Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS) and Saferworld in Shanghai.

Professor Chen Dongxiao, president of SIIS, and Bernardo Mariani, Head of China Program for Saferworld, made keynote speeches and welcoming remarks.

"It's a topic of great interest for the international community. There is a lot of interest by China in Central Asia because of the thick economic bond. There is a lot of interest by other international actors as well. Many countries want to have a bigger role in that region, Turkey, Iran and the West, which remain very much engaged in the region," Mariani told the Global Times.

He noted that although countries from Central Asia have made economic breakthroughs in the past decades, there is also some division in terms of geopolitical and ethnic issues.

Given the commonalities in these countries, the researchers addressed the prospects for more cooperative approaches in terms of dealing with some of the challenges that Central Asia states face.

"I think that this topic, though not so new, is still evolving and is still deserving of our pursuit," said Chen.

Saferworld is an independent international organization working to prevent violent conflict and build safer lives, with projects in 20 countries around the world and territories across Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Europe.

The China Program started 10 years ago, with projects covering a wide range of areas. Peace and stability in Central Asia is one aspect of the program. "We hold dialogues between Chinese and European actors on conflict prevention issues. We have other projects looking at proliferation issues. We also have a keen interest in promoting US-China dialogue and addressing peace and security challenges in Africa," said Mariani.

Currently there are six staff members working on the China Program, including three Chinese nationals. The operation is based in Vienna and London, with a consultant in Beijing. "It was only one person who started this interest. We are young as a program but we will try to grow, focusing on different issues," said Mariani.

According to Mariani, as an international organization specializing in conflict prevention and peace building, some of the challenges that they are particularly focusing on this seminar are challenges related to security and instability.

"The situation in Afghanistan is going to impact the region as a whole, so what are the common interest of China and Russia and Western powers addressing these problems? In terms of combating transnational crime, drug trafficking is also an issue of concern," said Mariani.

Keynote speeches and heated group discussions on a variety of other topics were held as well, including the security and development of Central Asia, the priority and attitudes of external countries on Central Asia, China's role in regional security and the stability of Central Asia, and the opportunity to gain peace and stability in Central Asia.

Bernardo Mariani (left) and Chen Dongxiao (middle) speak at the seminar about China's cooperation in Central Asia.


Speakers and participants at the seminar

Photos: Courtesy of SIIS


Posted in: Metro Shanghai

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