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The Governance deficit in Central Asia and the threat to China’s Central Asian energy strategy

Wong, Alfred (2016) The Governance deficit in Central Asia and the threat to China’s Central Asian energy strategy. LSE Undergraduate Political Review (01 Mar 2016). Website.

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Over the past decade, China has invested heavily in Central Asian energy sources and pipelines, on the grounds that an overland energy supply from friendly, stable authoritarian countries would be more secure than continued reliance on a maritime energy supply. This paper argues that this strategy rests on false assumptions, and that China’s investment in and growing dependence on Central Asian energy imports is not safer than the alternative. This is largely due to the various governance failures in the five Central Asian states, which create regime instability, succession risk, corruption, labour tensions and intraregional energy conflict. Furthermore, the fact that the Chinese oil and gas pipeline network traverses all five Central Asian countries means that unrest and conflict in any one country can disrupt China’s energy supply from the entire region. These threaten China’s energy supply in Central Asia by undermining the supposed foundation of China’s energy strategy in the region, namely the friendliness and stability of the local regimes and the supply security provided by overland transport routes. Furthermore, China’s economic, diplomatic and legal initiatives to mitigate these governance risks are unlikely to succeed in doing so. Not only do such initiatives presume the continued survival and pro-China attitudes of the Central Asian regimes, they also focus on alleviating the consequences of underlying governance failures in Central Asia rather than addressing the corruption, authoritarianism and other problems which constitute the principal threat to China’s energy strategy in the region.

Item Type: Online resource (Website)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2016 The Author(s)
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
J Political Science > JC Political theory
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2017 10:32
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2021 00:21

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