China gave strong verbal backing to Kazakhstan’s leader for his deadly crackdown to quell violent unrest, but stood aside as Russia sent in special forces troops.
Resource-rich Kazakhstan, on China’s western border, has economic and strategic importance for Beijing and is an important link in its “Belt and Road” infrastructure initiative to expand its global trade and political influence in rivalry with the U.S. and its allies.
China’s response to the crisis underscores how it prefers to influence outcomes with verbal assurances and offers of assistance, without committing troops.
“The growing closeness between Russia and China means we can expect more rhetorical support for Moscow’s overseas ventures, particularly when they go up against Western geostrategic aims,” said Rana Mitter, an Oxford University China expert.
“However, China remains extremely reluctant to deploy People’s Liberation Army troops outside its own territory, except in areas such as U.N. peacekeeping operations, as it would contradict its constant statements that unlike the U.S., China does not intervene in other countries’ conflicts,” Mitter
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