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Nazarbaev (left) arrived in Beijing on December 20 (epa) December 22, 2006 -- Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev is cutting short a visit to China due to the death of Turkmenistan's President Saparmurat Niyazov, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported.


It was unclear whether Nazarbaev would attend Niyazov's funeral, scheduled December 24. Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan share a 379-kilometer long border.


Nazarbaev arrived in China earlier this week and was due to conclude his visit on December 23.


(with material from ITAR-TASS)

China In Central Asia
The Almaty,Kazakhstan, office of China's National Petroleum Corporation (RFE/RL)

BEIJING ON THE RISE: The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States prompted Washington to topple the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. At the time, many predicted the United States would gain a new foothold in Central Asia: new U.S. military bases appeared in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, U.S. foreign aid increased, and much U.S. attention was lavished on the region. Russia and China looked on warily. But the pendulum may be swinging back in Moscow’s and Beijing’s favor. China, especially, has expended great effort at winning friends in Central Asia and is becoming a force to be reckoned with....(more)


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