Russia entering confrontation with China
Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 10
By Seymur Aliyev - Trend:
The confrontation between Russia and the West generates a need to find new markets. This will sooner or later lead to its confrontation with China, albeit latently.
Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Uzbekistan, his talks with Uzbek counterpart Islam Karimov (with whom, according to observers, Putin wasn't having the best relations), cancellation of Tashkent's debt worth nearly $1 billion, Lukoil's further investments worth $5 billion once again confirm Russia's activity in Central Asia.
Moreover, the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAU) upon Russia's initiative is another confirmation of this interest. It becomes even more relevant in terms of confrontation with the West.
All Central Asian countries are persistently invited to join the EAU. Kazakhstan has already joined it. These countries can be the markets of exports and investments for Russia, which is very important considering the current terms.
Central Asia is not the only one of interest to Russia today. In this context, the upcoming visit of Vladimir Putin to India, which is one of the biggest buyers of Russian weapons, is significant.
Moscow's desire to expand its presence in the regional markets can lead to a confrontation with the traditional players in this market, one of its main investors and exporters being China.
Beijing has long thoroughly strengthened in the region. Today, China is investing in oil and gas production, agriculture, construction, and exports a huge amount of goods.
And the crossover of interests of Russia and China will sooner or later lead to a confrontation. The strengthening of Russia's political and economic influence in the region, will force China to act.
Meanwhile, it is necessary to take into account that Russia, with its political and geographical position has nowhere to retreat. To west of Russia there is Europe, to the east there is the US, to the north there is ocean. The only direction for development is the South and one of the most fast-growing markets - the Asian market - is located there.
Moreover, a major presence in Central Asia is important for Russia in terms of security as well. Today the post-Soviet countries in Asia serve as a natural buffer between Russia and unstable Afghanistan. Meanwhile, drug trafficking routes run through these countries, while Russia cooperates with all countries in this region against the drug trafficking.
Definitely, the confrontation between Russia and China will not be clear and visible. China will least of all want to oppose Russia as an ally of the US and Europe. Because Russia's and China's views often coincide on the global political processes taking place beyond the region. But at the same time, China will by no means give way to Russia.
Seymur Aliyev is the head of Trend Agency's Russian News Service