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U.S., Russian, Chinese interests may clash in Kyrgyzstan

MOSCOW, June 1 (RIA Novosti) - China's Huaxia Shibao newspaper published a sensational report yesterday, saying China intended to send troops to Kyrgyzstan, prompting experts to say U.S., Russian, and Chinese interests may clash in the Central Asian region, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, a daily, reported.

Chinese authorities are looking into the possibility of meeting the request from Kyrgyzstan's acting President Kurmanbek Bakiyev to send Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) (Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Belarus, and Armenia) troops to be led by Russia and contingents of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) that comprises Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, to the republic,

the Chinese newspaper quoted Liu Jiancha, an official foreign ministry spokesman, as saying. Jiancha said China had no experience in deploying military bases abroad and therefore had to look into the request.

Tuesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry refuted reports that China was considering sending troops to the Central Asian republic. However, experts said the reports had not accidentally appeared. They predict the Central Asian states within the CIS that group former Soviet republics could become a conflict zone between the super powers given Russia and the United States each already have a base in Kyrgyzstan, while the Chinese army is located close to the republic's borders and could be quickly redeployed there.

Andrew Kuchins, the Director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, said Kyrgyzstan is unlikely to ask China for troops. The Kyrgyz authorities will most likely ask Russia to boost its military presence in the republic to be able to counter a possible security threat. Russia has developed much closer relations with Kyrgyzstan than China or the United States have.

Kuchins said China might start to compete with the U.S. and Russia for influence in Central Asia. The three countries, however, share concerns about possible instability in Central Asia and radical Islamic groups merging with terrorists, something that is likely to persist in the future. This will ease, although not end, their rivalry in the region.

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