Mr Dirk van der Kley: "Chinese Economic Statecraft: Case Studies from Central Asia"

On 18 March 2016, Mr Dirk van der Kley, Ph.D. candidate at the Australian National University held a public presentation on "Chinese Economic Statecraft: Case Studies from Central Asia". Mr van der Kley has summarized those means that China uses in the region with an emphasis on Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. His analysis addressed both the negative and the  positive tools that China uses. As far as negative tools, it is clear that the consequences of economic sanctions appear in the medium run at the latest and then can be clearly identified. However, the impact of using positive tools, like contributing to infrastructural development, a major direction of China's economic presence in Central Asia, appears slowly and mixed with other activities. Consequently, it is difficult to assess whether the influence of China in a country can be attributed to one factor or the other. The fact China is part of global supply chains means that occasionally sanctions applied by Beijing have negative bearing upon China's economy. This has been illustrated when China stopped exporting rare earth metals to Japan and the conseuquences also hit the Chinese economy.

China's economic statecraft relies on means tailored to the partner and the relationship. It is clear, there are some partners that cannot oppose the Chinese economic objectives due to significant asymmetry. It is also noticeable that Beijing has become more assertive in Central Asia recently.

The presentation has been followed by many questions, demonstrating massive interest in the topic and generated by the excellent and lively presentation.