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US Makes Play For Influence In Central Asia


The US State Department has unveiled a plan to increase US influence in the strategically important Central Asian region following a visit from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

  • The US plan includes USD$50 million to expand trade routes, bolster the private sector, and improve the English language skills of the local workforce.
  • Blinken's trip, the first by a Biden Administration cabinet member to the region, is seen as belated play by the US to exert influence in a region dominated by Russia and China.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping both visited the region last year for the SCO Summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, with Putin visiting all five Central Asian states.
  • None of the five Republics voted in favour of the UN resolution condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine last week but there have been signs that Central Asian leaders, wary of Russia infringing on their own sovereignty, may be looking to shed a traditionally close relationship with Moscow.
  • Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said at an event with Putin last year that Kazakhstan would not recognize Russia's “quasi-state territories” in Eastern Ukraine.

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