28 Dec '15, 8am

China's advance into Central Asia ruffles Russian feathers

China's advance into Central Asia ruffles Russian feathers

SHYMKENT, Kazakhstan — Slowly but surely, a four-lane highway is beginning to take shape on the sparsely populated Central Asian steppe. Soviet-era cars, trucks and aging long-distance buses weave past modern yellow bulldozers, cranes and towering construction drills, laboring under Chinese supervision to build a road that could one day stretch from eastern Asia to Western Europe. This small stretch of blacktop, running past potato fields, bare dun-colored rolling hills and fields of grazing cattle, is a symbol of China's march westward, an advance into Central Asia that is steadily wresting the region from Russia's embrace. Here the oil and gas pipelines, as well as the main roads and the railway lines, always pointed north to the heart of the old Soviet Union. Today, those links are beginning to point toward China. "This used to be Russia's back yard," said Raffaello Pan...

Full article: http://www.stripes.com/news/pacific/china-s-advance-into-...

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