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Asia Insight

Kazakhstan seeks sweet spot in US-China-Russia power game

'Friends with everyone' diplomacy tested as heavyweights compete over Caspian Sea

NAUBET BISENOV, Contributing writer | Mongolia, Central Asia, Afghanistan

AKTAU, Kazakhstan -- Russian President Vladimir Putin and the leaders of four other countries surrounding the Caspian Sea came together in mid-August to divvy up the world's largest inland body of water and its potentially enormous oil and natural gas reserves.

They met in Aktau, a strategic Kazakh port town, and signed a deal to settle a two-decade-long dispute over those resources. Their motivation for finally burying the hatchet, most likely, was the battle for regional hegemony between Russia, China and the U.S.

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