The United States on February 5 declared “an era of new possibilities" in Central Asia in remarks announcing an updated regional strategy that seeks to address new developments over the past five years and strengthen U.S. influence as a counterweight to Russia and China.
RFE/RL interviewed U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during his visit to Kazakhstan's capital, Nur-Sultan, on February 2. He discussed U.S. policies on Central Asia and China's oppression of minorities, but also journalistic freedom in the world in the wake of the State Department's controversial exclusion of a reporter from his traveling press pool.
Countries in and around China's "Belt and Road" trade routes are taking steps to protect themselves from the coronavirus. Pakistan has halted all flights to and from China, Kazakhstan has closed a flagship border free-trade zone, and Tajikistan is screening arrivals with thermal scanners.
For the governments and people of Central Asia, the Coronavirus that is spreading from China is a source of great concern, given the countries’ shared borders, exchange students, and migrant workers.
A new report suggests that China is now the second-largest arms producer in the world, behind the United States but ahead of Russia.
CHINA AND RUSSIA
Russia says it has received the genome of the coronavirus from China and is working jointly with its neighbor to develop a vaccine against the illness as the number of deaths and confirmed cases continues to jump.
A St. Petersburg court has upheld a lower court decision banning Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party, a volume of opinions on the Chinese Communist Party’s treatment of dissidents, contract killings, and imprisonment of Muslims. The decision says the texts are aimed at fomenting “social discord” in relation to Communism. (RFE/RL Russian Service)
CHINA AND CENTRAL ASIA
Reports this week that Tajikistan was constructing its part of the Turkmenistan-China gas pipeline were welcome news on a project that was feared to be moribund.
A new Amnesty International report called 2019 "a year of repression in Asia, but also of resistance.” "Online and offline, youth-led popular protests are challenging the established order,” notably in China, Pakistan, and India, according to the report.
PRESSROOM: Washington Post Cites RFE/RL Kazakh Service Interview With U.S. Secretary Of State Pompeo