Chinese Troops in Kyrgyzstan?

by Nathan Hamm on 5/31/2005 · 3 comments

The CSTO will not base troops in southern Kyrgyzstan (though Russia could on its own), but don’t get the wrong idea. Kyrgyzstan is willing to offer some sweet, sweet basing action to anyone who’ll have her.

China’s looking to get some of that action.

China may “seriously consider” sending its troops to Kyrgyzstan, the Huaxia Shibao newspaper on Tuesday reported Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao as saying. According to some mass media, on May 25, Kyrgyz acting president Kurmanbek Bakiyev announced that he would agree to deploy in the country troops of the Collective Security Treaty Organization led by Russia, as well as of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, including Chinese troops. The announcement came following mass riots in Uzbek regions bordering on Kyrgyzstan. The Uzbek authorities blamed the upheavals on Islamic extremists. Liu Jianchao underlined that so far China had never deployed its forces in other countries, the newspaper reported.

“Deployment of armed forces in the southern districts of Kyrgyzstan could prove useful for fight against terrorism, separatism and extremism,” it quoted him as saying. However, China does not have this experience, he added.

I had seriously hoped that the new Kyrgyz government would shy away from cooperation with China. If I’m not mistaken, one of the public grievances of Kyrgyz protesters was that the government was giving the country away to China (probably an exaggeration based on ceding disputed territory in demarcation agreements).

I’m not a huge fan of Russian military bases in the near abroad, but it’s not something that particularly worries me. Chinese on the other hand… They’ve been pretty pro-active about spreading its special love for the Uyghurs around the region, resulting in Kyrgyzstan in particular cracking down on its Uyghur citizens and refugees from China.

More discussion over at Coming Anarchy


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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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