TAJIKISTAN-CHINA:
TWENTY-FIVE YEARS OF DIRECT RELATIONS

Rashid ABDULLO


Rashid Abdullo, Independent Expert (Dushanbe, Tajikistan)


ABSTRACT

This article analyzes Tajikistans relations with the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) in the almost twenty-five years since direct and broad relations were restored between the two countries in the context of two overlapping trends. One of them is the striving of the Tajik leadership to acquire a reliable source of foreign funding for the republics economic development in light of its own extremely limited financial resources. The second is the consistent implementation by the Chinese leadership of reciprocal economic-political strategiesthe New Silk Road, Going Out, and the Silk Road Economic Belt.

Implementation of the first two strategies restored direct economic relations between the two countries, made it possible for Tajikistan to carry out several of its strategic infrastructural projects, turned China into Tajikistans strategic political and economic partner, and gave the PRC direct access to Tajikistans raw materials, particularly mining resources. At that, implementation of the first of the Chinese strategies, the New Silk Road, raised employment in Tajikistan, saturated its market with cheap Chinese consumer goods, and, consequently, promoted social stability. Implementation of the third strategy is fortifying Chinas status as Tajikistans strategic partner even more.

Nevertheless, Chinas stronger position in the republic is fraught with substantial risks, the main one being the lack of a practical alternative to the Republics broad economic cooperation with its great Eastern neighbor. Tajikistan must continue to follow a multivectoral course, not only in its strictly political, but also in its economic relations with the outside world in order to avoid unilateral dependence on its strategic partner.

Keywords: Tajikistan, China, strategic partnership, new initiatives, Silk Road, Going Out, multivectoral policy.

Introduction

The territories belonging to contemporary Tajikistan and China have, from time immemorial, been joined by direct and sufficiently developed political, economic trade, and cultural ties that were long interrupted.

Ways to restore relations between Tajikistan and its neighboring republics with China began to emerge as the Soviet state weakened in the aftermath of Gorbachevs perestroika. Kazakhstan was the


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