Op-Ed Contributors

Kyrgyz unrest impacts nation

By Yu Sui (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-06-24 07:39
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China will stick to the principles of equality and mutual respect, and maintain good ties with Central Asian nations

China's concerns regarding the situation in southern Kyrgyzstan stem from the following key issues.

First, there are more than 30,000 Chinese nationals in Kyrgyzstan whose lives and safety are under serious threat, especially so in the battle-scarred southern region. China has repatriated 1,299 of its citizens after the unrest deepened.

Second, China is an important trading partner of Kyrgyzstan, and bilateral trade volume jumped to $9.3 billion in 2008, up from only a few hundred million dollars at the beginning of this century. The turmoil has dealt a heavy blow to bustling bilateral trade.

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Third, as China's close neighbor, as well as the first stop on the energy route from Central Asia, the upheavals in Kyrgyzstan will directly impact China's energy cooperation with Central Asian nations. It will also put into jeopardy the ongoing railway line project connecting China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

Fourth, the political unrest might lead to a power vacuum, which might encourage extremist forces and terrorist organizations already rampant in Central Asia. This will pose a great threat to China's security, especially in its northwest Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

China and Kyrgyzstan share a traditional bond. Developing friendly ties with its neighbors tops China's diplomatic agenda. Kyrgyzstan is therefore a diplomatically significant region for China.

China has consistently followed a policy of building a close relationship with Kyrgyzstan, and wants to see it become stable and prosperous.

This policy, which is aligned with national interest and aimed at the people, will not change with regime changes in Kyrgyzstan. And no matter which political faction comes to power, bilateral relations will remain unaffected.

After the crisis worsened, the Chinese government provided Kyrgyzstan emergency humanitarian aid worth 5 million yuan ($732,000), including drugs, medical equipment, food, drinking water, blankets and tents. China will continue to offer such aid well within its capacity.

China also cooperated with other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to play a positive role in dealing with the crisis.

In a declaration issued at the recent SCO summit, member countries reiterated that they would support each other's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and oppose interference in internal affairs and desist from any action that may trigger regional tensions.

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