ANKASAM Central Asia Expert Dr. Emrah KAYA: “The China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan Railway has significant potential even though it includes only three states today.”

Adopting a global vision in 2013, China develops a strategy to reach world markets through various corridors. This China policy provides significant gains to the countries on the Belt and Road Initiative and involvement in the project, supports infrastructure activities, and economic improvement.

In this context, as the Belt and Road, the Middle Corridor’s significant but missing part of the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan Railway, Emrah Kaya’s, Ankara Center for Crisis and Policy Studies (ANKASAM) Central Asian Specialist, presents to your attention the comments received.

1. Could you please give an information about the China-Kyrgyzistan-Uzbekistan Railway Project?

China has determined various routes to reach Europe in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative. One of these routes passes through Russia, for example, within the scope of the North Corridor. However, the Ukrainian War caused the corridor to block. In the Pacific, another route, the tension rises. For this reason, China attaches importance to land corridors. For this purpose, it encourages to increase of the capacity of the Middle Corridor and completes the missing parts.

The Middle Corridor is divided into China-Kazakhistan-Cashar and China-Kirgizistan-Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan-Caspian routes. There are no missing parts on the first route. Nonetheless, there is no railway in Kyrgyzstan where the second line passes. The goods set out from China are loaded to the border of Uzbekistan by land on the border of Kyrgyzstan. However, this is an essential problem in terms of cost and schedule management. Although the route in question is used today, China, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan recently agreed to complete the 260 km railway line and started feasibility studies.

2. Nowadays, one of the important issues for China would like to be low cost and transportation to be realized in a short time as well as security. How will the completion of the project gain speed?

First of all, the process of transferring goods sent over the railway to the trucks on the Kyrgyzan border and then uploading them to the trains on the Border of Uzbekistan will be eliminated. A train departing from China will pass to Uzbekistan and then to Turkmenistan with a minimum waste of time. This is not just about time. In addition, the route will become more attractive as the transfer cost will disappear. This means an important gain for Kyrgyzstan, which is located on both the manufacturer, market, and corridor.

3. How will the project in question provide states?

China would like to diversify the corridors involved in the Belt and Road Initiative. Moreover, if the line is completed, the transportation cost will be reduced. This means an increase in China’s economic gains. On the other hand, China will be able to reach Uzbekistan and even Afghanistan through Kyrgyzstan.

In terms of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek governance has been able to be the center of corridors for a while. With the completion of the project, this aim will be one step closer. In addition, it will generate significant income in the transportation process. In addition, the cities where the railway pass will be transformed into the important trade center. Finally, it will be able to establish a geographical connection with an energy-rich country like Turkmenistan.

Uzbekistan, on the other hand, will first have a direct geographical linkage with China. However, its geopolitical importance will increase in the Middle Corridor. Uzbekistan will be the strongest center of the geographical relationship between Afghanistan and China. In addition, as Uzbekistan approaches its goal of becoming a center in the corridors, its economic gains will increase.

4. How can the next phase of the project develop?

The China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan Railway has significant potential even though it includes only three states today. The Trans-Afghan Transport Corridor is one of the most significant projects discussed in the region. In this regard, if the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan Railway line is combined with the aforementioned project, a strong linkage will be established between Central Asia and South Asia. Central Asian states will be able to reach the oceans. On the other hand, China will be able to diversify its routes under the Belt and Road Initiative.

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Director of the China Overseas Safety and Security Institute, Dr. Zhanggui Zhou: “A peaceful environment is the primary requirement of the Belt and Road Initiative.”

As the Belt and Road Initiative leaves 10 years behind, it continues to offer many opportunities for participating countries. The reconstruction of the historical Silk Road is very important not only for China, but also for its member states. The initiative has offered not only national but also regional and global opportunities over the past 10 years.

In this context, Belt and Road brings China Overseas Safety and Security Institute Director Dr. Zhanggui’s views to your attention.

1- Belt and Road Initiative leaves 10 years behind. How would you evaluate these 10 years in terms of the Initiative?

2023 marks the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative. Over the past decade, the Belt and Road Initiative has not only delivered tangible dividends to all countries, but also built more consensus for the international community to uphold genuine multilateralism and promote democracy in international relations, thus making global governance more just and equitable. 

First, in recent years, the Belt and Road Initiative has received support from more and more countries and international organizations, especially from developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, who want to learn from China’s development experience and have an urgent need and great enthusiasm for infrastructure construction. Second, the Chinese government has vigorously promoted and supported infrastructure construction under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and constantly promoted practical cooperation in various fields, which has shown the international community China’s sincerity and actions.

Third, at a time when economic globalization is facing setbacks and world economic recovery is facing challenges, unilateralism and disruption of the global industrial chain by a few individualized countries are becoming increasingly unworkable. The vast majority of developing countries in the world are focusing more on the issue of development and hope to strengthen solidarity and cooperation for their own development. Infrastructure development is an important way to enhance connectivity and promote global development.

2- With 150 countries and more than 30 international organizations, we can say that BRI is a transcontinental project. It brings to countries many opportunities not just economically but also present high life quality, prosperity likewise. How does this effect the participant countries’ perspective to China and of course the BRI?

In the past decade, China has signed more than 200 cooperation documents on Belt and Road cooperation with 151 countries and 32 international organizations, resulting in more than 3,000 cooperation projects with an investment scale of nearly US $1 trillion. The Belt and Road Initiative has not only brought benefits to the people of the countries along the routes, but also pushed the world toward a vision of common prosperity and a community with a shared future for mankind. 

The Belt and Road Initiative has created a reliable circle of friends. Strengthening the global network of connectivity, China’s infrastructure projects around the world; we rebuilt bridges for economic, trade and people-to-people exchanges and cooperation. It has helped solve the common problems facing mankind, such as green and low-carbon development, health cooperation and international poverty reduction. It has greatly enhanced the breadth, depth and level of China’s opening up, greatly stimulated two-way trade and investment. Seeing is believing. The implementation of concrete cooperation projects will enable participants to feel the effects and benefits of participating in the Belt and Road Initiative, increase mutual trust in the next decade of cooperation, continue to consolidate existing cooperation and expand new cooperation in other areas.

3- The world is dominated by a multipolar world order. What would you like to say about the role of the BRI in the multipolar world order?

The Belt and Road Initiative is gaining momentum, highlighting a new world order that promises to differ from US hegemony as a unipolar power. The Belt and Road Initiative is based on production and labour, will end the rules of the game for financial speculation, is an inclusive and sovereign respect plan, and opposes social exclusion and economic dependence. It is a program of cooperation and peace and is opposed to imposition. The Belt and Road Initiative aims to integrate the whole world into a multi-polar and diversified development plan based on the real economy. It will help promote the economic prosperity of countries along the Belt and Road and regional economic cooperation, strengthen exchanges and mutual learning among different civilizations, and promote world peace and development. It is a great cause that benefits people of all countries in the world.

4- Although BRI is known as a massive economic project, it is just more than that. It also gives a framework for conflict resolution. Lastly, we saw it Iran-Saudi Arabia case. In this point, does the BRI embody the mission of being “bridge of peace” in conflict resolution?

Based on China’s international status and influence, especially China’s active support for the United Nations (UN) Peace and Development Agenda, the Belt and Road Initiative is not only an element of the international peace and development agenda, but also will be affected by the trend of the international peace and development agenda. First, the Belt and Road Initiative has a peaceful nature and needs. In terms of its core content, the Belt and Road is an initiative dominated by economic and development cooperation, rather than a cooperation initiative on peace and security issues. However, from the very beginning, the Belt and Road Initiative has inherent attributes of peace, including the need for a peaceful environment, the adherence to the principles of peaceful coexistence and peaceful cooperation, and China’s choice of a path of peaceful development. A peaceful environment is the primary requirement of the Belt and Road Initiative. 

The Belt and Road Initiative is also a driving force for China to consciously safeguard peace and stability in countries and regions along the routes. In many official documents of the Belt and Road Initiative, the purposes and principles of the Charter of the UN and the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence are set as the first principles, and “peaceful cooperation” is set as one of the basic principles of Belt and Road cooperation. The case of China actively mediating peace talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia to promote their resumption of diplomatic relations is a positive example, hoping to provide a more friendly environment for regional and national conflict resolution in the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative.

5- Finally, what would be your comments for the future of the BRI? What plans does China have for the BRI for the coming years?

With the promotion of connectivity with neighbouring countries, the manufacturing industry will continue to transfer and upgrade, and the industrial chain of neighbouring areas will be further restructured on the basis of jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative. In the broader region, China and other developing countries will further expand trade and investment cooperation through land and sea routes. 

The levels of development are more diversified. The future-oriented Belt and Road Initiative will further promote “hard”, “soft” and “heart” connectivity, and integrate policy, infrastructure, trade, financial and people-to-people connectivity into concrete joint projects and development cooperation practices. “Small but beautiful” cooperation projects on people’s livelihood and culture will have greater room for development. “Connectivity” is a century proposition that requires all-dimensional, multi-level and multidimensional participation. 

The Belt and Road Initiative is also a big test for Chinese localities, enterprises and social organizations. Looking ahead to the next decade, the Belt and Road Initiative will open new windows of opportunity for China and the world. The Belt and Road Initiative will not only make China a better place, but also make the world a better place.

Dr. Zhanggui Zhou

Dr. Zhanggui ZHOU is the Director of the Overseas Safety and Security Institute of Zhejiang University’s NTS-PD Center. He also works as a Consultant to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). His main areas of work are maritime and energy security.

Mr. Khalid Taimur Akram, The Executive Director of Pakistan Research Center for a Community with Shared Future (PRCCSF): “While it is still too early to assess the full impact of the BRI, it is clear that there have been some reported successes.”

After 10 years, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) became one of the most important international projects of the world. It has brought many opportunities for countries from all over the world. Pakistan is among these states which have benefited and will benefit from the BRI. By several projects, Pakistan will continue to be one of the most significant partners of the BRI and China.  

In the lights of these as The Belt and Road Initiative Association for Economy and Culture, we talked about the BRI and its benefits for Pakistan with Mr. Khalid Taimur Akram, the Executive Director of Pakistan Research Center for a Community with Shared Future (PRCCSF). 

1- This year, the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will be celebrated. Looking at the last 10 years, how would you evaluate the Project?

The BRI is a massive infrastructure and development project launched by the China in 2013. The initiative aims to connect Asia, Europe, and Africa through a network of roads, railways, ports, and other infrastructure projects.

Since its launch, the BRI has seen the implementation of numerous projects across the world, ranging from ports and highways to power plants and railways. While it is still too early to assess the full impact of the BRI, it is clear that there have been some reported successes.

Firstly, it has increased the connectivity. The BRI has helped improve transportation infrastructure and connectivity between countries, making it easier for goods and people to move across borders. This has led to increased trade and economic growth in some countries. Also, it has created many job opportunities in the countries where projects have been implemented. For example, in Pakistan, the BRI has been credited with creating over 75,000 jobs in just one year.

On the other hand, we can see the positive impact of the BRI in energy projects. The BRI has funded several energy projects, including coal-fired power plants, hydroelectric dams, and solar power projects. This has helped increase access to energy in some countries and reduces their dependence on fossil fuels.

In addition, it has helped to reduce the poverty in the participant countries. Some BRI projects have been aimed at reducing poverty in developing countries. For example, in Sri Lanka, the BRI has funded a water supply project that has helped improve access to clean water for over 600,000 people. And finally, the BRI has facilitated cultural exchanges between countries and helped promote understanding and cooperation between different cultures.

Although the BRI has faced criticism and controversy, BRI is on high pace towards the success. 

2- So far over 150 countries and 32 international organizations became part of the BRI. Pakistan is one of them. How would you evaluate Pakistan’s participation to the BRI?

Pakistan has been a key participant in the BRI, and its involvement in the initiative has been significant. Pakistan has received substantial funding from China under the BRI for infrastructure and energy projects, including the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

There are some factors to consider when evaluating Pakistan’s participation in the BRI. One of them is improved infrastructure. The BRI has helped Pakistan improve its infrastructure, particularly in transportation and energy sectors. The construction of the CPEC has led to the development of new highways, railways, and ports, which are expected to boost economic growth and increase trade.

The other one is job creation. The BRI has also created job opportunities in Pakistan, particularly in the construction sector. The CPEC alone is expected to create over 2 million jobs in the country. And finally, it is clearly seen that the BRI has the potential to provide significant economic benefits to Pakistan, including increased foreign investment, improved trade, and enhanced regional connectivity.

3- The BRI has transformed Pakistan’s economic landscape. Also, BRI projects have benefited the Pakistani people through job creation, improving livelihoods, eradicating poverty. So that shows us that BRI is not just an economic-based Initiative. What would be your comments for that? 

The BRI is not just an economic-based initiative, as you said. While the primary goal of the BRI is to improve infrastructure and connectivity to promote economic growth, the initiative has also had broader social and developmental impacts.

In the case of Pakistan, the BRI projects have not only created jobs and improved livelihoods but have also contributed to poverty reduction and human development. For example, the construction of the CPEC has helped improve access to electricity and clean water in some areas, and the development of the Gwadar Port is expected to create new opportunities for trade and economic growth.

Moreover, the BRI has facilitated cultural, and people-to-people exchanges between participating countries, promoting greater understanding and cooperation between different cultures and regions. Therefore, the initiative has the potential to bring significant benefits to participating countries.

4- One of the most important projects of Belt and Road Initiative is China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). What do you think about the benefits of this project for your country? Also, what other projects can be important for these two countries?

The CPEC is a major infrastructure and development project under the Belt and Road Initiative that aims to connect China’s western region with Pakistan’s southern port of Gwadar. The Project involves the construction of highways, railways, and energy infrastructure, among other things. I have already mentioned some of the benefits of the CPEC for Pakistan. 

Also, other potential projects between China and Pakistan could include, for example, agricultural benefits. Pakistan is an agricultural country, and China is a major importer of agricultural products. Therefore, there is potential for increased cooperation in the agriculture sector, including joint ventures and technology transfers.

In addition, there are chances for education and human resource development. There is potential for increased cooperation between China and Pakistan in the education sector, including joint research and exchange programs, which can help develop human resources and enhance people-to-people ties.

Finally, there are potentials for tourism. Pakistan has a rich cultural heritage and scenic beauty, and there is potential for increased tourism from China, which can help promote cultural exchange and economic growth.

Overall, there is significant potential for increased cooperation between China and Pakistan, both under the CPEC and through other projects in different sectors.

5- Given the global economic situation, what can be said for the future role of the Belt and Road Initiative and of course for Pakistan-China relations?

The future role of the BRI and Pakistan-China relations will depend on several factors, including global economic trends and the geopolitical landscape in the region.

Despite challenges and criticisms, the BRI is likely to continue to play a significant role in promoting connectivity and economic growth in the participating countries. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant disruptions to the global economy, but it has also highlighted the importance of infrastructure development and international cooperation. Therefore, the BRI may become even more important in the post-pandemic world as countries look to recover and rebuild their economies.

For Pakistan-China relations, the CPEC and other projects under the BRI are likely to continue to be a key focus. These projects have the potential to significantly benefit Pakistan’s economy and contribute to regional connectivity. However, it is also important to address challenges. Moreover, China and Pakistan may continue to deepen their economic and strategic ties, particularly in areas such as trade, investment, and security cooperation. Both countries have expressed their commitment to further strengthen their relationship, and this may lead to new opportunities for collaboration and partnership in different sectors.

The future of the BRI and Pakistan-China relations will depend on a range of factors, including geopolitical developments, economic trends, and domestic policies. However, there is potential for continued cooperation and partnership between China and Pakistan, which can bring significant benefits for both countries and the wider region.

Khalid Taimur AKRAM

Khalid Taimur Akram is a specialist in the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Region. He comes to the forefront with his studies on analysis related to the fight against terrorism. He retired from the Pakistan Army, where he served between 1993 and 2015, with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He is currently the Director of the Pakistan Research Center for a Community with a Shared Future.


CRI Turkish Editor-in-Chief Kamil Erdoğdu: “It Is Certain That a World Where the BRI Is Widely Accepted Will Be a World of Peace and Friendship.”

The opportunities created by the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in the past 10 years have been extremely important not only for the world but also for the Türkiye. In the time since it was first announced, Türkiye was one of the first countries to join the project. In this process, relations between the two countries gradually developed.

In this context, as The Belt and Road Initiative Association for Economy and Culture, we talked to Kamil Erdoğdu, CRI Turkish Editor-in-Chief, about the development of the BRI in 10 years and the reflections of the project on the Ankara-Beijing relations. 

1. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which is seen as one of the most significant projects of the 21st century, will be celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. The BRI is a transcontinental project. When we look at the past 10 years, what would you say about the BRI?

It has been 10 years since Chinese President Xi Jinping introduced the BRI. In these 10 years, the world met a new culture of trans-countries relations. China has proposed a new type of collaboration model to other countries. In fact, this model was built on the principles of “Peaceful Coexistence”, which China has long championed. These principles which announced for time first time in the end of 1953 by Zhu En Lai, then Prime Minister of People’s Republic of China are mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit. It can be said that the BRI has added some ethical rules to these principles in the framework of economic and trade relations between the countries, such as win-win concept, development by sharing and development together.  

2. You are a journalist who spent about 18 years in China. You published a book called “Bilmediğimiz Çin” (The China We Don’t Know) in July 2021. In your book, you refer to the “truthful misconceptions” about China’s political and social structure. You state that the negative perception towards China originates from the Western media. Can it be said that the BRI is suffering from the same problem?

It is clear that negative perception in the Western media has been run against China. Unfortunately, manipulated media and academics also contribute to this. The BRI is also the target of the anti-China campaign. The West, especially the USA, is trying to smear this Initiative with lies, such as China’s pursuit of hegemony or trying to set up a “debt trap” for countries. It is clear that China is the primary target of perception creation studies in the Western press and academia. For example, we understand that the main target behind the Ukraine crisis is China. They are trying to establish a similarity between Ukraine and Taiwan. Again, Taiwan’s status is distorted through the media and academics. However, countries that have established diplomatic relations with China, including the USA, have accepted the “One China” principle, that is, the only legal representative of the government of the People’s Republic of China. Joint statements signed on that. 

3. Finally, although the BRI is seen as an economic based project, it is actually an international project that goes beyond that. What would you like to say about the opportunities that this project, which will complete its 10th year, will create for the whole world?

It is certain that a world where the BRI is widely accepted will be a world of peace and friendship. It will be a world where countries experience common development and common prosperity. It will stand as a deterrent against countries pursuing aggression and hegemony. It will develop friendship, cooperation and neighbourly relations between the countries on its route. Regional peace projects will be implemented. In summary, China proposed to the world to get rid of serious common problems together and to form a community of common destiny of humanity, without losing their sovereignty and independence. 


Turkish journalist Kamil Erdoğdu, who lived in China for about 18 years, carried out his professional life in newspapers such as Sabah, Yeni Yüzyıl and Aydınlık and in important institutions such as BBC Turkish, Anadolu Agency, Deutsche Welle and TRT. Today, he works as the Editor-in-Chief of the Türkiye branch of CRI Turkish (China Radio International). He has a book called “Bilmediğimiz Çin (The China We Don’t Know)” published in 2021.

Former Ambassador Aydın Nurhan: “China and Türkiye are the rising powers of the 21st Century

The Belt and Road Initiative that was announced to the world in 2013 by China, is one of the most crucial commercial initiatives of the 21st century. The resurrection of the historical Silk Road in a modern sense is important not just for Beijing, but the rest of the world as well. As a result of its ever-growing scope, Belt and Road Initiative as one of the biggest indicators of globalization in not just economics but also geographical, social and cultural, aims to create bridges of cooperation. 

With this background in mind, former ambassador Aydın Nurhan offers their insight for a close look at the Belt and Road Initiative. 

1. The Belt and Road Initiative is accepted to be a long-term inter-continental undertaking that aims to expedite the economic integration of countries located in the Historical Silk Road. According to many experts this initiative is the most critical commercial integration move of the 21st century.  How do you evaluate the Belt and Road Initiative?

As we know, the trade route between Istanbul and Beijing took a significant hit after the Age of Discovery. The losers in this scenario were the Ottoman Empire with China and the nations in between. As the longer extension of this trade route Italian Mediterranean states were also harmed in the process. Shortly, the Istanbul-Beijing chain of the global economy was broken. 

Capitalism foresees free trade without any obstacles. It requires expansion in a global scale. If it does not, it implodes. China, as a country that adopted capitalism later than its counterparts, desires to create free trade routes that capitalism brings. As the Western part of the broken Silk Road, Turkey shares the same destiny and aspiration of fixing this broken chain. Therefore, as long as the Istanbul-Beijing link is not connected, a crucial chain in global cooperation will remain broken. 

2. Since its announcement in 2013 China has signed Belt and Road Memorandum of Understanding with 150 country and 32 international organization. While it is a global initiative, it can be seen that emerging markets such as Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa and Middle East are given priority. When evaluated from this perspective what has been and will be the effects of the Belt and Road Initiative in China’s relationship with developing countries? 

China and Türkiye are the emerging powers of the 21st century. Emerging powers desire peace and stability. While their production and export capabilities are increasing, they want a liberal global order without obstacles. In this context Africa, Asia and Latin America are virgin grounds that need investment. The rising Türkiye with an export economy nearing $500 billion and a tourism plan that aims to attract 60 million tourists, just like China, is in favor of strong cooperations. 

3. In 2023 the Belt and Road Initiative will be celebrating its 10th year. Considering the current global economic situation, what would be your predictions in terms of the Belt and Road Initiative’s role within the global economy?

The Belt and Road Initiative has disturbed many Western nations, starting with the United States. West is in a situation where they cannot compete with China. For this reason, they are becoming more reactionary and protectionist in their free trade initiatives. However, if every nation follows the trend of preferring domestic products, world would enter a dark economy tunnel. Fighting against this risk, the Belt and Road Initiative is a beneficial initiative for the humanity, and of course, Türkiye. 

Former Ambassador Aydın Nurhan

Born in Türkiye, 1949, Ambassador Nurhan is a graduate of the Ankara University Law School. Before he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he practiced law as a lawyer. Nurhan has worked as the consulate general for Nakhchivan, Bregenz and Melbourne. Later, he was appointed to Togo and Benin as accredited ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Republic of Türkiye after which he has worked as the Afghanistan permanent representative for Islamic Cooperation Organization. Apart from his diplomatic career, Nurhan is a columnist, radio show producer and host; and a university lecturer with an honorary doctorate. With his main interest, globalization, Nurhan contributes to ANKASAM’s work as the president’s head counselor. He is married with two kids.