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Sino-Russian Relations: The Impact of Central Asian Energy Resources

Abstract

The following paper strives to (1) present the reader with the results of my preceding book on the subject (Eder 2014) and to (2) review the trends that had been predicted therein. It provides a concise analysis of the Sino-Russian relationship’s history, an account of post-Soviet regional energy projects, and an analysis and interpretation of the mainland Chinese discourse on the impact of the Central Asian energy issue on this relationship. The issue has been broadly discussed as a possible source of friction since the global financial and economic crisis. Chinese authors predicted that a great deal of co-ordination and compromise would be needed because of Russian sensitivities but conveyed confidence that their country’s ‘inevitable’ expansion of crucial energy relations would be manageable. The book thus predicted a successful handling of competing interests in the short term but still foresaw a challenge to the ‘strategic partnership’ through the gradually shifting power balance. Over the last 18 months, China has advanced even faster and more comprehensively than anticipated and already overshadows Russia. Now undergirded by a more substantial political strategy, it quietly but resolutely pushes Moscow (and all its schemes of post-Soviet re-integration) aside. Managing ensuing frustrations and more blatant counter-measures will likely test the resolve and aptitude of Chinese policy-makers earlier than expected.

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