China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region : cornucopia or Achilles heel?.
Elders, Garron Lee
Buss, Claude A.
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Although China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR) is often overlooked or neglected, it is of significant importance in that the region could prove to be a major factor in the success or failure of China's current modernization effort. Containing one-sixth of China's landmass, Xinjiang is a cornucopia of vital resources such as petroleum, uranium and tungsten. On the other hand, there are elements present which invite both domestic unrest and foreign intervention thus making Xinjiang an Achilles heel. Foremost, are the fourteen different nationalities which account for more than half of the region's population. Another troublesome element is the XUAR's geographic location which is conterminous with the Soviet Union as well as remote from Beijing. This thesis will examine the extent of Xinjiang's assets in natural resources and, contrarily, its vulnerabilities in both geography and strategic location. The major hypothesis involved is that if the XUAR's assets can be maximized and its vulnerabilities minimized then the region will contribute greatly to China's modernization effort.
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