The Hot Zone
China's newly announced air defense identification zone over the East China Sea aims to shore up national security
Current Issue
· Table of Contents
· Editor's Desk
· Previous Issues
· Subscribe to Mag
Subscribe Now >>
Expert's View
Market Watch
North American Report
Government Documents
Expat's Eye
Photo Gallery
Reader's Service
Learning with
'Beijing Review'
E-mail us
RSS Feeds
PDF Edition
Reader's Letters
Make Beijing Review your homepage
Hot Links

cheap eyeglasses
Market Avenue

Top Story
Top Story
UPDATED: November 5, 2013 NO. 22 MAY 30, 2013
Off Center
Central Asia's internal problems obstruct the region's economic potential
By Shi Ze

Positive changes

Generally speaking, progress in a multinational organization depends on the participating countries' economic development, how complementary their economic structures are and a willingness to cooperate. Considering the stagnated development of the Central Asian countries and their tendency of de-integration, there are several ways to make positive changes.

China should research cooperative options in the wider pan-Central Asian region based on the SCO framework. West China, including Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, neighbors Central Asia in the west, Russia in the north, and Southwest Asia in the south. The area can also link Central Asia to the Asia-Pacific in the east through channels inside China. It's clear that west China holds a potential advantage in its location.

China can break the geographic limits of Central Asia and seek cooperation on a global scale. It can build transportation, information and logistics networks centered in Urumqi. In this way, Russian products could move deeper into China and reach the Indian Ocean countries through Xinjiang. Moreover, India, Pakistan and Iran could join the regional cooperative circle while deepening their cooperation with west China. Enhancing cooperation with Central Asian countries will help west China live up to its geographic and transportation advantages.

China should more actively push forward multilateral cooperation under the SCO framework to form a pan-Central Asian economic zone to the benefit of all participants. This will create a positive effect on expanding multilateral cooperation in the SCO, while accelerating the implementation of China's west development policy.

The SCO should be practical as it pushes forward economic cooperation. It can adjust its current development plan and lower expectations if need be, starting with easier cooperative projects. It should focus more on projects that are in accord with the development levels of Central Asia. For example, it can help member countries improve infrastructure and conditions for cooperation by ameliorating customs clearance procedures, establishing cross-border transportation and telecommunications networks, and promoting financial services and personnel training. Moreover, it should take precaution in activities that might offend the countries' sense of sovereignty.

The SCO should heed the de-integration tendency of Central Asian countries, and take impartial steps to promote peace and cooperation among them. It needs to seek compromises that take all parties' interests into consideration, so as to prevent disputes from escalating. At the same time, it should try to find projects that are attractive to all countries involved in order to boost their participation and optimism. The SCO can create a win-win situation by making tangible achievements in these projects.

Amid slow economic development and ongoing social problems in the Central Asian region, the SCO must prioritize projects related to livelihood, as well as those that can bring visible benefits in the short term, such as hydropower plants, road construction and repair, small-scale processing, post-disaster reconstruction and agriculture. Moreover, it should propel the economic structure transformation of its members through effective cooperation to promote internal cohesion. By improving sustainable development and social stability in its member states, the SCO can help spur comprehensive regional cooperation.

SCO members with greater capability and influence, such as China, Russia and Kazakhstan, can add more investment and policy support to regional economic development. Preferential policies are typically more effective than simple investment increases. For example, they can reduce tariffs to stimulate cooperation and economic development among the less developed countries.

The author is director of the Center for Eurasian Security and Development at the China Institute of International Studies

Email us at: yanwei@bjreview.com

   Previous   1   2  

Top Story
-Protecting Ocean Rights
-Partners in Defense
-Fighting HIV+'s Stigma
-HIV: Privacy VS. Protection
-Setting the Tone
Related Stories
-Silk Road Revival
-Silk Road Resurrection
Most Popular
About BEIJINGREVIEW | About beijingreview.com | Rss Feeds | Contact us | Advertising | Subscribe & Service | Make Beijing Review your homepage
Copyright Beijing Review All right reserved