China’s Integration of Xinjiang with Central Asia: Securing a "Silk Road" to Great Power Status?
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Despite the turning of the international spotlight on the region courtesy of 9/11, the question as to what drives China's power and imperatives in Central Asia (as elsewhere in the world) remain a matter of debate. This article argues that there is a largely complementary relationship between what may be termed China's Xinjiang, Central Asia and grand strategy-derived interests. Key to balancing these interests has been Beijing's post-1991 attempt to utilize Xinjiang's pivotal geopolitical position to simultaneously integrate Xinjiang and expand its influence in Central Asia. In particular, the article suggests that the integration of Xinjiang with Central Asia grants China significant security, economic and strategic benefits that serve two purposes - the consolidation of China's control of Xinjiang and the expansion of Chinese power in Central Asia - which contribute to Beijing's quest for a "peaceful rise" to great power status.
China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly
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