China-Russia rivalry in the Central Asian region is intensifying, with the US's departure from Afghanistan and the two countries seeking to fill the power vacuum by working within their Central Asian spheres of dominance. Can the two powers work together to foster greater regional stability or will they let their competitiveness get the better of them?
To help quell the current unrest in Kazakhstan, Russia sent troops while China gave only verbal support to Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. Despite their different levels of commitment, Russia and China share a common desire not to see Kazakhstan developing closer ties with the US. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan analyses the situation.
China is finding out that overzealous nationalist internet warriors can do its foreign relations more harm than good. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu learns that China's neighbouring countries are taking these internet voices seriously because of China's unique political system.