ㄑ Belt and Road ㄑ Opinion

Belt & Road Initiative conducive to Central Asia-China cooperation, says Kyrgyz expert

Xinhua | May 17, 2023

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is of "key importance" for Kyrgyzstan and other Central Asian countries as it promotes mutually beneficial cooperation with China, a Kyrgyz expert has said.

"Thanks to the BRI and the road transport corridors in the Central Asian countries, very beneficial relationships are being built between Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan with their major trading partner, China," said Sheradil Baktygulov, a foreign affairs consultant at the Kyrgyz National Institute for Strategic Studies.

"The BRI is very important for Kyrgyzstan since it is primarily conducive to ensuring food security in the country, providing citizens with jobs and so on," he told Xinhua in a recent interview, adding that the Belt and Road cooperation allows Kyrgyzstan to have access to sea routes through China.

By implementing the initiative, China can deliver goods via the territories of the Central Asian countries to the Middle East and Southern Europe, while the Central Asian countries can supply products to Southeast Asian countries through Chinese ports, he said.

The initiative, he said, also promotes people-to-people and cultural exchanges and deepens the understanding of different peoples.

"When we talk about the BRI, one must evaluate not only the economic effect but also the foundation that is being laid for long-term cooperation between countries and peoples," he stressed.

In Baktygulov's view, Kyrgyzstan sees China as "a good neighbor" and intends to strengthen its friendship and cooperation with China.

The China-proposed Global Development Initiative is fair as it takes into account the opinions, wishes and characteristics of all countries in the world, he said, adding that Kyrgyzstan supports China's peace initiatives "not in words, but in deeds" since peace is key to prosperity.

However, the expert is worried that some large countries located far from Central Asia are seeking to initiate processes that could lead to disruption of the peaceful balance in the region established over the past 30 years.

"China deserves respect and support" for contributing to peace, friendship and cooperation in Central Asia and for advocating mutually beneficial cooperation and peaceful development among all countries, he said.

"China does not force the Central Asian countries to take side in confrontation. It is a responsible country that respects the choice of the Central Asian countries, unlike the Western states," he added.