The Chinese foreign policy priorities in Kyrgyzstan — страница 2

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the sudden change of top country leadership and the victory of opposition forces, did not become a cause for significant cooling or radical re-examination of bilateral relations. They only they caused a certain pause in the relations. The potential accumulated in during the previous bilateral interactions has allowed both sides to overcome the difficulties of the current situation. However, it should be recognized that the ambiguity and precariousness of the political situation in Kyrgyzstan after the "Tulip Revolution" and, as a consequence, the vagueness and unstable character of foreign policy orientations of the new Kyrgyz leadership initially caused some tension between Kyrgyz-Chinese relations and the cautious attitude on the part of Beijing. The leaders of the

P.R.C., according to Chinese experts, did not expect such major perturbations in the neighboring country. The concern, on Beijing's part, pertained to the new authorities in Kyrgyzstan immediately after the "Tulip Revolution." These can most likely be explained by a number of circumstances, among which we can specify the following: instability of the political situation in Kyrgyzstan and the lack of unity on the key issues of the country's development strategy not only between the branches of power, but even inside the new governmental team; coming to power of some opposition leaders who earlier supported anti-Chinese ideas; volatility in the foreign policy priorities of the new leadership the lack of a clear succession, common approaches, and the lack of unity

concerning the relations with China, especially on sensitive for the official Beijing issues; criticism of the achievements and signed treaties and agreements in the previous period of the Kyrgyz-Chinese relations (1992-2005) by individual Kyrgyz politicians; potential risks of destabilization in the Xingjian Uyghur Autonomous Region under the influence of the situation in Kyrgyzstan; Strengthening of external, especially American, influence on Kyrgyzstan. Taking into account these factors, Beijing did not force the events and took a wait-and-see attitude, thus granting the right of initiative to the Kyrgyz side. It is remarkable that during a year after the mentioned events there had not been mutual visits at the highest level between the two sides, and the political contacts

between the top leaders of the two countries were limited to short protocol meetings within the framework of multilateral forums. There was a meeting of the Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev with the Chinese President Hu Jintao during the SCO summit in Astana in July 2005 and a meeting of the Kyrgyz Prime Minister Felix Kulov with the Prime Minister of the State Council of the P.R.C. Wen Jiabao during the SCO meeting of the heads of governments in Moscow in September 2005. It should be noted that those meetings were more of an introductory, "estimating'' character and could not lead to the full restoration of relations. Beijing was still cautious because the position of Kyrgyz leadership in a number of key issues for China was not quite clear. Besides, some Kyrgyz

politicians, including high officials, still supported the idea of re-examining the relationship with China and especially the Kyrgyz-Chinese agreements on border issues. In that situation, both parties focused on preparations for the visit of the President Kurmanbek Bakiev in China, which took place on June 9-10, 2006, believing that it would remove existing concerns, discord and problems in the bilateral relationship. Each side had its own goals and expectations of the visit. Beijing's expectations of the visit were connected primarily with the political component of the cooperation. The top leadership of China hoped not only to understand the position of the President of Kyrgyzstan on the key issues of the bilateral relations and Kyrgyz regional and international policies, but

also to get confirmation of its firmness and stability in the foreseeable future. In general, the most important thing for Beijing was the possibility of restoring a climate of political trust between the two countries. In the Kyrgyz-Chinese relations the degree of political trust between the leaders and the level of cooperation in the field of security have always determined and will continue to determine the dynamics of the relations in other areas, especially in trade and economic relations, and in the implementation of major economic projects. Beijing's willingness to restore full cooperation depended on the position of the Kyrgyz leadership on the following issues: the Taiwan and Tibet issue ; the joint fight against Xinjian separatism, extremism and terrorism; continuity