This book examines the involvement of the European Union (EU) and China in Central Asia and critically assesses the implications this has for the region as a whole.

The volume adopts a comprehensive, interdisciplinary approach, combining insights from International Relations, EU Studies, International Economics, International Law, Sinology, and History. It concentrates on three thematic levels: (1) historical and contextual, (2) geopolitical and geo-economic, and (3) socio-cultural and institutional. Paying particular attention to the role of the EU and the factors driving the EU’s and China’s relations with Central Asia, it looks at how the Central Asian countries position themselves vis-à-vis China’s growing influence, and how the balance of power between China, Russia, and the EU plays out. Contributors also explore the important historical context of the ‘Silk Routes’, as well as of the erstwhile connection of the Central Asian states with the Soviet Union. Critically analysing the potential areas for collaboration and synergy between the EU and China, the book also discusses the extent to which they share a common ground in Central Asia that could serve as a basis for long-term cooperation.

It will be of interest to all scholars and students of International Relations, Economics, Sinology, and History.

chapter 1|14 pages


The EU and China in Central Asia: (Un)natural partners?

part I|60 pages

Historical and contemporary contexts of China and the European Union in Central Asia

chapter 2|22 pages

Central Asia between China and Europe

Reflections on historical identity

chapter 3|15 pages

The context of China's pursuits in Central Asia

The role of historical memories in Chinese foreign policy–making

chapter 4|21 pages

Sketching the context

A comparative overview of the EU's and China's engagement with Central Asia

part II|104 pages

Geopolitical implications of the European Union's and China's engagement with Central Asia

chapter 5|20 pages

European engagement with China's Belt and Road Initiative

A Central Asian perspective

chapter 6|24 pages

The other actor

Gauging Russian reactions to potential EU–China cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative in Central Asia

part III|108 pages

Soft power and governance perspectives on the European Union's and China's engagement with Central Asia

chapter 10|19 pages

Soft power instruments

An assessment of China's soft power and Sinophobia in Central Asia 1

chapter 11|21 pages

Between the EU, Russia, and China

Cultural diplomacy competition in Central Asia

chapter 13|18 pages

Towards a new model of transnational governance in anti-corruption

Hopeful new beginnings in Central Asia?

chapter 15|13 pages


What scope for EU–China cooperation in Central Asia in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative and beyond?