Xinjiang in Focus of US Foreign Policy

The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region is the western edge of China (Xinjiang means the new frontier in Chinese). It borders on Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Mongolia and the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. 9 million Uyghurs (Sunni Muslims) make up 45% of the total population of the Region. From time to time protests hit the streets calling for independence from China. The USA has a role to play here, it defends the separatists on international scene. The Uygur culture or rights don’t mean anything for Washington, but the Region enjoys strategically important geographic position being situated in the heart of Eurasia which is viewed as an area of its vital interests by the United States.

For the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union the Xinjiang Uygur Region was an area where its interests conflicted with Great Britain. The region provided access to India. Today there is a conflict of interests with the United States, which finds it important strategically to deny Russia and China an access the Indian Ocean.

Establishing control over the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region means getting a springboard for US penetration into the heartland of Eurasia. For instance, the geographic position of Kazakhstan makes it kind of a buffer zone against the Islamic radicalism coming from Afghanistan. Crossing the Kazakh territory, radicals would get to Russia (Kazakhstan borders on Astrakhan, Chelyabinsk, Saratov, Volgograd, Novosibirsk, Omsk and Tyumen regions of the Russian Federation). Muslim Bashkiria and Tatarstan are in the vicinity. While the USSR contained the spread of Islamic extremism, having tightly closed the southern border, Kazakhstan and Western Siberia remained parts of the Soviet Union. It has all changed by now. The US intervention into Afghanistan has exacerbated the situation near the southern part of Russia. In case the US gets a foothold in the Xinjiang Uygur Region, the things will exponentially worsen, there are many Uyghurs living in Central Asia (250000 in Kazakhstan, 60000 in Kyrgyzstan, 50000 in Uzbekistan etc).

xinjiangThe Region is rich in oil and gas, as well as rare-earth metals. There are 52 minerals extracted there. It’s an important trade and transportation hub, an economic center of western China. The Chinese commodities cross its territory to get transported to the Pakistani port of Karachi and then to South Asia. Pakistan and China are strategic allies, the destabilization of Xinjiang would hinder the flow of goods from Islamabad to Beijing. The Chinese law enforcement agencies report there are people on the wanted list in Pakistan among the dead Uyghur separatists. At that Beijing does its best to have good relations with Islamabad.

There is a major telecommunications project under construction – the Trans-Asia-Europe Fiber Optic Line, which is to connect Shanghai, China and Frankfurt, Germany passing through the Region. Oil and gas flows from the Caspian will cross it on the way to the Asia-Pacific. The Region borders on Tibet. The hue and cry raised by Washington from time to time over the human rights violations in Tibet is a trick the US propaganda machine resorts to while waging an information war against China.

The US goes to any length to support the Uygur separatists abroad, for instance the World Uyghur Congress headed by Rabiya Kadir , one of the richest Chinese in the world… She meets US congressmen and even has had a meeting with George Bush. She is a hyped symbol of Uyghur resistance. The 10 Conditions of Love movie devoted to her was shot in 2009. Despite the protests from Beijing, it was included into the Melbourne festival’s program.

The World Uyghur Congress cooperates with the so-called Tibetan government in exile and has branches in many countries, even in Australia. It should be noted that Anglo-Saxon powers (the United States of America, Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia) have been including China into their agenda for a number of years, some time ago Australia became a host country to US Marine Corps unit.

Washington predominantly uses three issues to exert pressure on China: Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang, where separatist protests are on the rise. That’s why the United States is well disposed towards the growth of Uyghur nationalism, using every opportunity to spur its radicalization…

Source: Strategic Culture Foundation

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