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Central Asia warily welcomes China's Belt and Road Initiative

Fears over Chinese aims linger, while Russia sees tectonic shift underway

| China

China's Belt and Road Initiative is making some leaders in Central Asia nervous as they welcome economic engagement with Beijing but remain wary of potential problems the project could unleash. Russia is not all happy, either.

Central Asia is strategically important for China's trade and energy interests as well as for security in Uighur-dominated Xinjiang Province. The Silk Road Economic Belt, the overland portion of the BRI, was announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 in Kazakhstan. It aims to connect Chinese and European markets through infrastructure and transport links, oil and gas pipelines, and communications networks via Central Asia and Russia. 

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