The 1st Session of IIAS Eurasia Lecture Series: Current Security Situation in Central Asia and Its Impact on China

On the morning of April 29th, 2021, the 1st session of IIAS Eurasia Lecture Series was held at Conference Room 205 of the Central Main Building, with the theme of “Current Security Situation in Central Asia and Its Impact on China”. The event was delivered by Prof. Sun Zhuangzhi, Member of Academic Committee at Institute of International and Area Studies, Tsinghua University (IIAS-THU) and Director of Institute of Russian, Eastern European & Central Asian Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), to young research professors and doctorate candidates at IIAS.

The lecture was comprised of three parts. Prof. Sun started with the current security situation in Central Asia and the key security challenges. He pointed out that the current threats facing Central Asia include the possible politicization of Islam, the southern border, drug, energy dependence and the internal conflicts caused by poverty. He believed that the reasons why non-traditional security threats in Central Asia are difficult to eliminate in the short term include extremism and terrorism, drug smuggling and transnational crimes, ecological security and nuclear pollution, and security concerns triggered by resources. In the second part of the lecture, Prof. Sun further explored the new features of the changes in the security situation in Central Asia, including the increasing complexity of geopolitical landscape, severe challenges to the internal stability of Central Asian countries, unbalanced development of Islamic extremist forces, more prominent problems and conflicts among Central Asian countries, and increased security pressure brought by “Afghanistan Syndrome” to Central Asia. At the end of the lecture, Prof. Sun analyzed the security prospect of Central Asia and its impact and challenges on China’s strategic interests.

After the lecture, Prof. Sun communicated and interacted with the audience on the topics involved and carefully responded to a number of questions raised by the audience, including the impact of the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan on Central Asia and China’s foreign debt to Central Asian countries.

Prof. Sun Zhuangzhi is Research Professor, Doctoral Supervisor and Director of Institute of Russian, Eastern European & Central Asian Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). Focusing on international politics, his research interests include the construction of The Belt and Road Initiative, international relations in Central Asia and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). He has been granted special government allowance by the State Council since 2010. Prof. Sun concurrently serves as Executive Director of Research Center for SCO, Vice President of Chinese Central Asia Friendship Association, Vice Chairman and Secretary General of Sino-Russian Strategic Partnership High-end Cooperation Think Tank of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Director of China’s SCO Committee on Good Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation, Vice Chairman of China Anti-Corruption Research Center, CASS, Vice President of Social Change Research Association and Executive Director of China Center for Contemporary World Studies (CCCWS)

His publications include the books of Foreign Relations of Five Central Asian Countries (1999), New Landscape and Regional Security in Central Asia (2001), Security in Central Asia and Afghanistan (2003), Research on Color Revolution in CIS Countries (2011), Research on Cross-border Cooperation in Central Asian Countries (2014) as well as the papers of “Exploring the Focus of Expanding the Cooperation Space of The Belt and Road Initiative” (2018), “Strategic Connotation and Realization Path of Silk Road Economic Belt” (2014) and “New Development of SCO and New Opportunities of China’s Foreign Economic Cooperation” (2012).

Text by: Wang Zijing
Typesetting by: Wang Zijing
Reviewed by: Wang Qin