Empire of the Ring

Chapter 783 - The Central Asian Union
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Chapter 783: The Central Asian Union

“And why would you go there? You are the general commander who must look at the whole battle situation and direct it.”

Cho Chul-hwan had been insisting to go to Kashgar himself to conduct the operation for the last few days, giving Youngho a headache.

Cha In-soo was in a position to lead private military mercenaries, so he needed to go regardless of his will, but Cho Chul-hwan was in a position of a general commander who should look at the whole scene from behind.

However, it was perplexing because he insisted that he must lead the team on the spot.

“This will be the biggest war in this century. Of course, I must direct it at the scene. The royal guards are deployed, and the general commander can’t direct it from behind. Even for the morale of the troops, I should be in the front.”

“Oh, come on. I understand you want to participate in history, but there have been many wars since the 21st Century. You can never go there. What if you get shot? If the general commander dies, the war is over.”

“I’m not going to run around with a gun myself but will be sitting inside a bunker. What’s wrong? I always told my troops that the answer always lies at the spot, so how can I sit back in the rear side?”

“This is different. You know the importance of supporting from the rear side.”

The victory or defeat of war depended on meticulous operations and the morale of the soldiers.

Being on the spot could narrow one’s view of the whole battle.

It was not easy to see the whole thing in a place full of flying bullets and to make rational judgments.

To direct the overall war, the commander should look at it from a distance.

Of course, it was also important to hear the voices from the soldiers in the spot directly.

However, now they were living in an era where they could see the whole picture without having to be on the battlefield.

In the 21st century, with early alarms, telecommunications, and satellites, the battle site could be identified from the rear as much as possible.

“If you’re really curious about the situation there, go ahead now. There may be some unfinished parts, so look at them with your own eyes. Also, you can check the training situation of the mafia mercenaries and Serbian militias.”

With Putin’s cooperation, the mafia mercenaries and Serbian militias had already arrived in Kashgar and were busy training.

Youngho was not aware of it when he discussed it with Putin, but the mafia mercenaries turned out to be an organization that played an active role in occupying the Crimean Peninsula.

At that time, the Russian government announced that the locals had voluntarily participated, but behind the scenes, even the mafia had been mobilized by the government.

“Can I really go to Kashgar? They are an important power to us, so of course, I should check their training.”

“We’ll never start the war until you come back, so don’t even think about staying there.”

***

No matter how important Uyhgur’s independence war was, nothing was more important than the economic development of the Federal Kingdom of Kazakhstan.

Mining cities in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan were facing an untimely peak to meet the suddenly increased export volume of mineral resources.

Collecting mineral resources was not an automated system like making electronics, so manpower must be mobilized. Thus, many jobs had been created.

Kazakhstan, which suffered from the lack of labor force due to little population, had to be supplied from the outside, and Uzbekistan was the easiest place.

Uzbekistan boasted the largest population in Central Asia, with as many as 33 million people, which was about the number of all populations of Kazakhstan’s federal states combined.

Although there were nomadic people, it was an agricultural-based economic structure, and the population growth rate was faster than other regions due to abundant agricultural products.

As the people of Uzbekistan had a hard time finding a job due to the country’s lack of an industrial base, many people found jobs abroad.

They had been employed mostly in the Far East and the Middle East, but they recently flocked to Kazakhstan as there were a lot of jobs available in Kazakhstan.

Even the mining area, which was short-handed, could be in full production because of the Uzbek people.

“Your Highness, I think we should sign a memorandum of understanding with the Uzbek government. There are so many illegal workers, and it’s going to be a social problem.”

Kasim mentioned the illegal employment of Uzbek people when he came to report on his work.

There were many cases of hiring Uzbek people who came on general visas because Kazakhstan lacked hands.

As logistics between the two countries were customs-free and markets were open in border cities on a regular basis, people were relatively free to travel.

Uzbek people also spoke Russian as an official language, so they were welcomed anywhere in Kazakhstan.

As a result, people often passed their legal stay period, and unintentionally became illegal immigrants.

However, bad business owners were even taking advantage of such a situation as a pretext to cut wages.

“Then, are you saying that all Uzbek people are illegal employees?”

“Not necessarily. There are many cases where people come after getting a work visa. However, our work visa issuance has a high bar, and it’s limited because if we expand the issue of the work visa too much, it could threaten the employment opportunity for our people. There is a possibility that our mainstream society will be encroached upon.”

No matter how many jobs were overflowing, giving work visas to any foreign workers could threaten the jobs for young and middle-aged people of Kazakhstan.

As most Central Asians did, Uzbek people had an exceptionally strong ability to maintain their livelihood.

They were also famous for their passion for education and the ability to easily settle down and adjust well wherever they went.

Prime Minister Kasim was worried that a flood of Uzbek people would shake Kazakhstan’s mainstream society.

Money outflow was also a concern.

“The lack of workers is the problem, so will it be fundamentally solved by limiting the number of employed people? Why don’t you open our country completely?”

“...”

Kasim only glanced at Youngho as if he did not understand them.

“I don’t think we can’t afford to have Uzbek employees. And one day, Central Asia will be integrated into one, so I’m suggesting to open the door freely in order to prepare for that time. If we had a little institutional arrangement, it wouldn’t be a big threat.”

Even now, both countries were tied up in one economic bloc, and so it was a little unfair to separate it by nationality.

There were high-quality jobs in Kazakhstan, and artificial blocking of hiring Uzbeks could worsen the people’s relationship.

If economic integration took place first, political integration would take place naturally.

What Youngho envisioned was a unified kingdom that was more advanced than the European Union.

Even if it was a national wealth outflow, the money would still be circulated in Central Asia.

“I always thought about Uzbekistan separately, and I didn’t think about it that way.”

“If you don’t have such concerns, who will? If our people are threatened by the lack of jobs, we’ll do whatever we can to help them.”

“I will discuss with relevant ministers and gradually release our visa for Uzbek citizens. If we break down the border first, Uzbekistan will follow.”

“Great. By the way, Prime Minister, how is the perception of the Uzbek government and its people about the recent Uyghur crisis? I know there are a lot of Uzbek people living in Uyghur, but it’s strange that they’re staying still.”

The interest in Uyghur human rights was growing that even the European Union adopted a joint statement, but only Uzbekistan seemed to be unusually quiet.

“The people’s exasperated, but what can they do from a far-off perspective? They don’t even share a border with China and can’t threaten China with its economic power. All they can do is boycott Chinese products.”

It was fortunate that they were at least showing interest.

A small country could not even protest even if its people were persecuted abroad.

If they bordered China, they could protest by a show of force, but they had no border with China, and they could not impose economic sanctions due to Uzbekistan’s weak economic power.

“Why didn’t we try to get in touch with the Uzbek government at the government level?”

“It doesn’t seem like that’ll be much help, and I’ve ruled it out because we could risk an early exposure to our plan.”

“I’d like to give the Uzbek people a chance to have pride in their contribution to Uyghur independence as a member state of Central Asia. Even though a pro-China government would not make a fool of itself when it comes to its own people’s ethnic matters?”

Nothing would change even if Uzbekistan got involved.

However, as a leading country of Central Asia, Youngho wanted to encourage Uzbekistan to join, so it would not be left out in contributing to Uyghur’s independence as a member of Central Asia.

Likewise, Turkmenistan, which had always been left out in Central Asia, would also be given a chance.

Although the country was rarely seen in the international community, it had remained a member of Central Asia.

Turkmenistan, which bordered Kazakhstan on the west coast of the Caspian Sea, had no special color.

Youngho did not even pay attention to it to leave it as a buffer zone against Iran, but the people could also be disappointed if Turkmenistan was excluded from the Uyghur issue.

Regardless of whether they would join or not, Kazakhstan should give them a chance.

Youngho continued, “That’s why I want you to visit Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Whether it’ll be helpful or not, they’re part of Central Asia, so why not give them a chance to participate?”

“I feel sorry to think that Turkmenistan is always being marginalized. So, sure. We’ll be able to finally save Kazakhstan’s face as a leading state of Central Asia that way.”

The only thing that Kazakhstan could support would be Russia’s old-fashioned weapons, but what was important was to include those countries in the Uyghur issue.

If the two countries returned to the Central Asian Union through this incident, Youngho would help them achieve rapid growth like Kazakhstan.

He did not mean to absorb and integrate them like Kyrgyzstan or Tajikistan.

The idea was to coexist and prosper under the big framework of the Central Asian Union.

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