For Com­mon Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and Cen­tral Asian Coun­tries within the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive

Co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and Cen­tral Asian Coun­tries within the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive

China Pictorial (English) - - NEWS - Text by Hu Bil­iang

China and the Cen­tral Asian coun­tries are seek­ing com­mon devel­op­ment through win-win co­op­er­a­tion by com­ple­ment­ing their re­spec­tive re­sources and eco­nomic struc­tures.

Re­cently, the co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and Cen­tral Asian coun­tries un­der the frame­work of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive has aroused some con­tro­ver­sies. This ar­ti­cle touches upon the in­ten­tion and aim of the co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and Cen­tral Asian coun­tries.

Pro­mot­ing Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment

Ac­cord­ing to the World Bank, of its sur­veyed 185 coun­tries China and the five Cen­tral Asian coun­tries have a com­par­a­tively low GDP per capita at the cur­rent ex­change rate. In 2017, the av­er­age GDP per capita in the world was US$10,715, while Kaza­khstan and China only reached US$8,838 and US$8,827, rank­ing 71th and 72th re­spec­tively and nearly equat­ing to 82 per­cent of the world av­er­age. And Turk­menistan, Uzbek­istan, Kyr­gyzs­tan and Ta­jik­istan took the 80th, 150th, 154th and 164th places with 7,356, 1,504, 1,220 and 801 U. S. dol­lars of GDP per capita, re­spec­tively. So, China and all the five Cen­tral Asian coun­tries have not ar­rived at the world av­er­age level in terms of GDP per capita.

This means that China and the five coun­tries in Cen­tral Asia are all de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, with Kaza­khstan, China and Turk­menistan be­ing mid­dle-in­come coun­tries and the other three be­ing low-in­come economies. So, the pri­mary task of th­ese six na­tions is to pro­mote eco­nomic devel­op­ment, in­crease pub­lic in­come and im­prove the liveli­hood of their peo­ple in a short time.

His­tor­i­cally, China had long been the coun­try with the largest eco­nomic ag­gre­gate, while the five Cen­tral Asian coun­tries also had a splen­did past. So, both China and the five Cen­tral Asian na­tions long for na­tional re­vival al­though their eco­nomic growth is re­stricted by

cur­rent sit­u­a­tions for the time be­ing.

At present, the eco­nomic devel­op­ment of the Cen­tral Asian coun­tries is pri­mar­ily lim­ited by trans­porta­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion in­fra­struc­ture. In terms of high­road and rail­way, Kaza­khstan and Uzbek­istan en­joy com­par­a­tively bet­ter con­di­tions, while the other three coun­tries lag far be­hind. With re­gard to in­ter­net us­age, Uzbek­istan and Kyr­gyzs­tan have only 30 per­cent of in­ter­net cit­i­zens. More­over, th­ese coun­tries do not have ad­vanced man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­tries. Al­though Uzbek­istan’s joint ven­tures pro­duce cars and buses and Kaza­khstan and Uzbek­istan make some chem­i­cal and med­i­cal prod­ucts, the eco­nomic devel­op­ment in Cen­tral Asia still re­lies on ex­port­ing pri­mary com­modi­ties (ac­count­ing for 70 per­cent of their ex­ports) and im­port­ing fin­ished goods (over 70 per­cent of their im­ports).

As for China, it lacks the sup­ply of im­por­tant re­sources in­clud­ing crude oil, nat­u­ral gas, iron ore and soy­bean. In 2017, China im­ported 420 mil­lion tons of crude oil, ac­count­ing for 68.9 per­cent of its to­tal de­mand, while im­port­ing 83.8 bil­lion cu­bic me­ters of nat­u­ral gas, oc­cu­py­ing 35.3 per­cent of the year’s to­tal con­sump­tion. The net im­port of soy­bean hit 95.42 mil­lion tons, tak­ing up 86.3 per­cent of its to­tal con­sump­tion of 110.59 mil­lion tons.

Win-win Co­op­er­a­tion

If China and Cen­tral Asia strengthen co­op­er­a­tion, both sides can greatly re­lieve their devel­op­ment re­stric­tions and even erad­i­cate some of them.

Firstly, within the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, China and Cen­tral Asian coun­tries have com­pleted some ma­jor trans­porta­tion in­fra­struc­ture projects such as the Vah­dat-ya­van Rail­way in Ta­jik­istan, the first Chi­nese-built rail­way in Cen­tral Asia. Af­ter only 15 months of con­struc­tion, the rail­way was put into ser­vice on Au­gust 24, 2016. The Papu Rail­way Tun­nel (Kam­chiq Tun­nel) in Uzbek­istan, the first Chi­nese-built rail­way tun­nel in Cen­tral Asia, be­gan op­er­a­tion in June 2016.

Se­condly, to en­hance the en­ergy rgy trade be­tween China and Cen­tral Asian coun­tries, China has built a pipe­line net­work in­clud­ing nat­u­ral al gas and petroleum pipelines. Line A and Line B of the China-cen­tral al Asia nat­u­ral gas pipe­line span a to­tal otal of 10,000 kilo­me­ters, cross­ing the e bor­der be­tween Turk­menistan and nd Uzbek­istan and run­ning through Uzbek­istan and Kaza­khstan, and en­ter China via Xin­jiang’s Alataw w Pass. Their an­nual gas trans­mis­sion on ca­pac­ity reaches about 30 bil­lion cu­bic me­ters, with Turk­menistan as the pri­mary source of nat­u­ral gas. s. Line C of the gas pipe­line tra­verses ses the bor­der of Turk­menistan and Uzbek­istan and ar­rives in Xin­jiang’s ng’s Hor­gos Port, with a de­signed an­nual nual

trans­mis­sion ca­pac­ity of 25 bil­lion cu­bic me­ters. Th­ese three lines have been put into ser­vice. Ad­di­tion­ally, Line D is be­ing con­structed, with a de­signed yearly trans­mis­sion ca­pac­ity of 30 bil­lion cu­bic me­ters. It also starts from the bor­der be­tween Turk­menistan and Uzbek­istan and en­ters China via Xin­jiang’s Ulugqat County.

As for petroleum pipe­line con­struc­tion, the China-kaza­khstan oil pipe­line runs from Atyrau in western Kaza­khstan to Xin­jiang’s Alataw Pass of China, span­ning 2,800 kilo­me­ters with a de­signed an­nual trans­mis­sion ca­pac­ity of 20 mil­lion tons. Cur­rently, the oil pipe­line op­er­ates well.

Thirdly, China has greatly beefed up pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity co­op­er­a­tion with Cen­tral Asia by set­ting up in­dus­trial parks and de­vel­op­ing modern agri­cul­ture. For ex­am­ple, China set up a China-kaza­khstan Pro­duc­tion Ca­pac­ity Co­op­er­a­tion Fund with US$2 bil­lion to help China’s qual­ity in­dus­trial ca­pac­ity set­tle in Kaza­khstan. And China and Uzbek­istan jointly es­tab­lished the Peng­sheng In­dus­trial Park, which has boosted lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing, cre­ated more than 1,000 jobs and added 20 per­cent of tax rev­enue. A Chi­nese pri­vate com­pany opened the Asian Star Agri­cul­tural In­dus­trial Park in Kyr­gyzs­tan, speed­ing up the devel­op­ment of modern agri­cul­ture in Cen­tral Asia.

Fi­nally, by the end of 2016,

China’s stock of in­vest­ment in Cen­tral Asia had hit US$9.14 bil­lion, of which US$5.43 bil­lion went to Kaza­khstan. China has be­come the sec­ond largest for­eign in­vestor for Kaza­khstan and the third largest for­eign in­vestor for Turk­menistan, Kyr­gyzs­tan and Ta­jik­istan.

So, China and Cen­tral Asian coun­tries are seek­ing com­mon devel­op­ment through win-win co­op­er­a­tion by com­ple­ment­ing their re­spec­tive re­sources and eco­nomic struc­tures. The co­op­er­a­tion al­lows the five Cen­tral Asian coun­tries to get the com­modi­ties they need—of which four coun­tries, ex­cept Turk­menistan, im­port the largest amount of com­modi­ties from China—and the in­vest­ment which can help per­fect lo­cal in­fra­struc­ture and boost in­dus­trial devel­op­ment. Ad­di­tion­ally, China is close to Cen­tral Asia and with im­prov­ing trans­porta­tion con­di­tions, trans­port cost will be fur­ther low­ered, which will greatly drive the eco­nomic growth of China and the Cen­tral Asian coun­tries as well as ad­vance the liv­ing stan­dards of lo­cal peo­ple.

May 8, 2018: An em­ployee op­er­ates an ink-jet printer at Peng­sheng In­dus­trial Park jointly built by China and Uzbek­istan. by Zhou Liang/xinhua

Novem­ber 11, 2015: Work­ers check a me­ter sta­tion in Khor­gos along the Cen­tral Asian nat­u­ral gas pipe­line. It is the first transna­tional pipe­line trans­mit­ting for­eign nat­u­ral gas into China. It starts in Turk­menistan and passes through Uzbek­istan and Kaza­khstan be­fore en­ter­ing China via Xin­jiang’s Khor­gos. by Chen Ye­hua/xinhua

Au­gust 7, 2017: China’s Zhongda Petroleum Com­pany’s fa­cil­i­ties in Kyr­gyzs­tan. by Luo Man/xinhua

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