This year has not been kind to accord in the Fergana Valley. Along with Kyrgyz threats to shut off water access to Uzbek crops, Uzbekistan’s decision to withhold gas from southern Kyrgyzstan, and continued violence and growing casualties along the Kyrgyz-Tajik border, 2014 has seen a decided uptick in acrimony in the region.
Toss in sudden concerns about Russian intentions, and the realities of dwindling NATO presence in Afghanistan, and the inter-state tensions in Central Asia have only swelled.
As such, the fact that Uzbekistan was willing to at least discuss matters with Tajikistan was a positive sign. Moreover, it points to a larger trend: China’s ability to not only help craft regional organs for successful dialogue, but also give Central Asian nations a reason to cooperate.
Instead of pitting Central Asian states against each other, Beijing has used its deep pockets and developmental expertise to attempt to tie Central Asia together. China chooses to push cooperation, not confrontation, in the region.