Chapter 785: The Empire of the Ring (2) (End)
There had been a tedious battle for three months in the Uyghur area.
The allied Uyghur independence forces gradually expanded their territory, troubling the Chinese Army with guerrilla-style wave attacks.
The guerilla-style attack pattern was a way to make up for the inferiority of the troops, which could reduce the sacrifices of the militias much more than in the early days of the war.
As the war for independence showed signs of prolongation, the United Nations began to sound out a cease-fire carefully.
Such a move was being discussed around the United States and Russia.
The two superpowers, who used to be hostile in Syria, were speaking with one voice on the Uyghur issue.
It was none other than the Kazakh royal family that moved the two countries.
Since the allied forces had secured some buffer zones between Kazakhstan and China, the royal family took out a cease-fire card to stick to the current front.
When the U.N. discussed a cease-fire, China reacted angrily, saying not to interfere in its internal affairs, diminishing the Uyghur independence struggle as an internal affair, not a dispute between countries.
However, the U.S. and Russia strongly pressed for Uyghur’s independence, citing a past precedent.
The past precedent was the independence of Eastern European and Central Asian countries due to the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Russia did not force a country that wanted independence at the time, which was a little far-fetched, but it was true.
If that was the case, China, which forcibly annexed Uyghur or Tibet, should guarantee the independence of not only the two regions but also other minorities, so it was natural for China to be furious.
The reason for this forced logic was to press China demanding unreasonable concessions and take a step back later to reach a middle ground on the issue of Uyghur’s independence.
China would not recognize Uyghur’s independence, but if only a cease-fire in Uyghur was achieved, it would be the desired result.
If it was an offer of a cease-fire, China might also respond to the idea.
China’s economy was also at its worst because of the Uyghur conflict, and it was in a position to see a conclusion in any way.
The trade war with the U.S. was also tough, but China was embarrassed when even the European Union moved to support Uyghur.
In addition, China’s ambitious One Belt One Road Initiative business was drifting due to the Uyghur War of Independence.
China was in a dilemma as even global companies with factories in China were moving to withdraw due to the national turmoil.
This would slow down China’s economic growth.
Unlike China, Kazakhstan was rather relaxed because it was a war on other countries’ land.
On the contrary, Kazakhstan’s economy was booming due to the war.
Meanwhile, Kazakhstan’s military was preparing to deploy regular troops in preparation for a cease-fire and weighing the timing.
The Defense Minister frequently visited the royal palace to urge Youngho to make up his mind over the timing of the regular military deployment.
“Your Royal Highness, it’s the right time to deploy border forces at this point when the cease-fire agreement is being discussed. If the regular forces are deployed early, we’ll be able to increase the area of occupation.”
There was no guarantee that China would step back although the aspect of the war would certainly change if regular troops were deployed.
It was also a dangerous idea to underestimate the Chinese military.
“We’ve achieved our goals in the region we’ve secured. There is no reason to provoke China when the cease-fire agreement is being discussed.”
“It’s an open secret that we’re behind Uyghur, so what are you afraid of?”
“It’s a truce, not the end of the war. China will try to recapture its lost territory someday. We need to conserve power just in case.”
Unlike the cessation of war, a truce was a temporary halt to the war, and if one side showed weakness, the war could be resumed by the other side at any time.
The Defense Minister seemed to be glad by Youngho’s remark.
It was as if he wanted the war to continue like a child with a toy.
It made Youngho wonder if the Kazakh people were this belligerent.
“Well then, our troops would have to be satisfied with peacekeeping operations for now.”
The regular troops would be sent to Uyghur in the name of a peacekeeping force.
Russia and the United States were also actively considering sending peacekeepers.
If so, China would not be able to do anything about Uyghur for the time being.
This was because Kazakhstan’s border forces would be completely relocated to Uyghur.
It had already been agreed with the Uyghur interim government that the Kazakh military would replace border defense until Uyghur grew stronger.
“The peacekeeping operation is never easy. There’s a possibility of frequent clashes with Chinese troops.”
“Your Royal Highness, our military’s training and armed level have long surpassed those of China. That doesn’t mean we’re overconfident, so don’t worry too much.”
“I feel more reassured than anything to hear that our military is well prepared. Sooner or later, I hope they will be able to demonstrate the prestige of Kazakhstan’s military in Uyghur.”
After many twists and turns, a cease-fire agreement was signed between China and the Uyghur Autonomous Government.
The leadership of the Communist Party finally made a decision as the Chinese economy deteriorated too much.
Another reason China agreed to a cease-fire was that after a fierce battle, it took back a considerable portion of Uyghur rather than the beginning of the war by retaking the occupied areas by the Uyghur allied forces.
This was possible only because the allied forces seemed to be pushed back under pressure.
The Chinese government had no choice but to fall into the illusion that it had recovered much of Uyghur’s land rather than losing it.
Although it was a bit disappointing that the allied forces occupied only a fifth of the entire Uyghur due to a fierce battle, Uyghur had to agree because if it did not agree to the cease-fire, the U.S. would turn its back on it, and that would risk the whole cease-fire opportunity.
One-fifth of Uyghur’s total size was 1.5 times the size of the Korean Peninsula.
Of course, the desert accounted for one-third of the land, so there was not much useful land, but it was important that Uyghur laid the foundation for independence.
As for Kazakhstan, it was a successful war of independence as it secured a buffer zone against China.
When the cease-fire was established, a great migration of Uyghurs who lived throughout Xinjiang Uyghur began.
The Chinese government also did not bother to stop them.
There was no reason to stop the Uyghurs as holding onto them would only cause trouble just like before.
As the Uyghurs entered the occupied territory, the United States and Russia sent 500 peacekeepers each.
At the request of the interim Uyghur government, Kazakhstan sent as many as 10,000 troops as peacekeepers.
In other words, the entire Kazakhstan’s border troops, which were guarding the Chinese border, had relocated.
The Chinese government reacted angrily, saying it was another provocation in a truce, but there was nothing it could do to stop it.
Since a truce could be broken easily, Youngho was not going to naively trust the armistice and the Chinese side.
It was like there was a powder keg nearby that could explode at any time, so it was best to consolidate the border no matter what the other party said.
For Kazakhstan, it was important that the war was stopped for a while by signing a cease-fire agreement, and it was meaningful that the border was drawn temporarily.
In the case of Israel, the people started in a small place when they first set foot in the Middle East. Then, they took over the surrounding land little by little and achieved the current Israel.
The Uyghur that was just conquered now was achieved because Uyghurs used the Kashgar Autonomous Republic as their foothold.
At the same time as the cease-fire agreement, the regular forces of Kazakhstan were deployed to Uyghur in a flash to finalize the border.
They were called peacekeepers, but they were practically occupying forces.
In the process, there were big and small clashes with the Chinese military, but Kazakhstan aggressively seized the opportunity by mobilizing its powerful air force, which chilled Chinese troops’ blood.
In terms of airpower, China was behind Kazakhstan.
Some people said that the Uyghur War of Independence had crushed China’s pride, but the reality was different.
Despite the guerrilla warfare of allied independence forces, the Chinese military secured most of the Uyghur region.
There was also something the Chinese government gained from the war.
By boldly giving up parts of Uyghur, it could prevent the usual terrorist attacks of Uyghurs and unite the Chinese people.
The Chinese liked to have recovered much of the land they had lost at the expense of brave soldiers and to drive the Uyghurs completely out into a small area.
It was not even their own land in the first place, but there must have been a sense of relief to have protected it.
However, considering the underground resources buried in the Uyghur area, they were bound to feel bitter to certain degrees.
It was a desert area, but there were huge oil reserves.
“Oh my! This is a true desert. Look at those dunes. They are magnificent.”
The sight of the desert area of Uyghur was different from Kazakhstan’s semi-deserted areas.
Fatima, who was on a camel, was continuously exclaiming.
“We’ve got to get back now. Our children must be waiting.”
It seemed unlikely that he would want to go back anytime soon, so he urged her, using the children as an excuse.
“Is it far from here to the border?”
“It’s going to be about 50 kilometers straight.”
“You’re not going to have an unscheduled border unit inspection, are you?”
Fatima, who toured the federal kingdom and set Uyghur as her last stop, had often made Youngho nervous by jumping out of her way during her previous travels.
“Dear, is it that short? You should have secured more of this beautiful desert.”
She was making an innocent comment.
How many soldiers were sacrificed on both sides to secure the Taklamakan desert east of the Tarim Basin where oil was buried?
They managed to secure even this much only because they pushed ahead for the end of the armistice.
“There’s oil in this desert. Would China, knowing that, have given it away so easily? It’s where the fiercest battles took place.”
Youngho and Fatima were at the historic site where the fiercest battles took place, causing so many victims.
“Oh! This was the famous battleground.”
Then she got off the camel and offered a silent tribute.
The attendants had no choice but to follow the queen’s actions, and in an instant, it became a solemn atmosphere.
Uyghur’s independence was achieved by countless people’s blood and sweat.
Although it was for various purposes, the cost was great even if it was for the well-being of Central Asia.
History would judge whether such a sacrifice was necessary.
It was the best decision Youngho could make, but it remained to be seen what the future generations would say.
Not all dangers had been resolved yet.
China would still covet Central Asia, and Russia would one day resume its southward policy.
As ever, Youngho would have to live with its belt tightened and continue to live in tension.
The completion of the empire was only the beginning.
Looking west at the sunset, Youngho said, “How about having a lamb barbecue tonight?”
“How can you think of alcohol in this solemn situation?”
“We are left behind to go on, and I’d also like to offer a drink to the dead.”