How does the People’s Republic of China use multilateral institutions in Central Asia? In the 1990s and early 2000s, multilateral bodies were a means of working with the Russian Federation and other countries in the region collaboratively. More recently, however, multilateral bodies, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which includes China, Russia, India, Pakistan, and the Central Asian states, have become spaces for competition between China and Russia. The Belt and Road Initiative has led to intensified Chinese engagement with Central Asia, which has alarmed leaders in Moscow, who see their sphere of control shrinking. Through the SCO, China is writing the rules of the game that will define future development in areas such as logistics and technology.
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