China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan Railway: Opportunities and Challenges for China

Yunis Sharifli, Research Intern at Central Asia Baromete

Economy and Development International relations Kyrgyzstan Uzbekistan China 18.07.2022

The ongoing politico-military turbulence in the Eurasian region, the disruption of supply chains and the unstable situation in the Northern Corridor make the construction of the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway, a major infrastructure project between China and Central Asian countries, a top priority concern.

In the article, published on The Diplomant, Central Asia Barometer research intern Yunis Sharifli analyses how the new rail route could affect land trade relations between China and the EU, and what challenges the project could face in the medium and long term.

In particular, the author notes the growing anti-Chinese sentiment in Kyrgyzstan, which in turn could increase pressure on the government, provoking more protests, potentially preventing the completion of the railway project.

Moreover, according to the latest Central Asia Barometer (CAB) poll, only 19% of people in Kyrgyzstan strongly support Chinese investment in energy and infrastructure projects, while 31% strongly oppose Chinese investment. Moreover, 66 per cent of people are "very concerned" that the Chinese projects will lead to an increase in Kyrgyzstan's public debt to China.