China’s relations with its Central Asian neighbors are now in their third decade, and this region is shared with another great power, Russia. China still officially regards the five Central Asian republics (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) as neighbors, but not in the same region as China: they are officially classified as part of the “Eurasian” department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), and Chinese diplomats and scholars regularly recognize Russia’s interests in these places. China recognizes this as “Russia’s backyard” and seeks a stable relationship with those countries and with Russia, and has generally been successful in that regard. What has changed is China’s economic might. China simply has more people, money, military, and trade than Russia and its Central Asian “backyard” can muster. And with Xi Jinping’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative, it has an attractive idea as well to sell in Central Asia as well.