Xi's planned visit to Turkmenistan lauded
Updated: 2013-09-03 07:26
By Zhao Yanrong (China Daily)
Editor's note: From Tuesday to Sept 13, President Xi Jinping pays state visits to Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Xi will attend the eighth Leaders' Summit of the Group of 20, to be held in St Petersburg from Thursday to Friday. He will also attend the 13th Meeting of the Council of Heads of Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, on Sept 13. Ahead of his trip, China Daily interviewed Gurbannazar Nazarov, Turkmenistan's ambassador to China.
President Xi Jinping's upcoming state visit to Turkmenistan is "a landmark event in history" and will elevate the two countries' relationship to a higher level of strategic partnership, Turkmen Ambassador to China Gurbannazar Nazarov said on Monday.
"I would like to note that the whole range of Turkmen-Chinese cooperation is being enhanced. The high level of mutual understanding and support serves as the significant factor in strengthening Turkmen-Chinese ties," Nazarov said.
Turkmenistan appreciates China's respect for the country's foreign policy and neutral status. In return, the country supports China's territorial integrity and unity, the ambassador said.
"Our two countries closely cooperate within the framework of authoritative international organizations, primarily the United Nations. Both Turkmenistan and China stand for creating a firm security system in the region, based on a multilateral balance of interests, and adherence to political and diplomatic ways of settling problems," he added.
Meanwhile, cooperation on trade and business between the two countries has been enhanced in recent years.
According to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, in the first half of this year, trade volume between China and Turkmenistan reached $5.16 billion, or a 5 percent increase year-on-year.
Trade volume in 2012 was $10.37 billion, almost double the figure in 2011.
China is Turkmenistan's largest trading partner and has invested nearly $3.3 billion in the country by June. There is more business cooperation between the two countries in industries such as telecommunications, transportation, textiles, railway construction, infrastructure, and finance, according to the ministry.
Nazarov said that economic cooperation is good for the country's social welfare and for the people's quality of life.
"The flagship of trade and economic partnership between Turkmenistan and China is the energy industry. One good example is the construction of one of the world's top energy transportation projects - the China-Turkmenistan gas pipeline, which has a length of more than 8,000 kilometers," Nazarov added.
The gas pipeline was completed in December 2009, and has boosted gas exports from Turkmenistan to China. China has become the largest overseas market for Turkmenistan's natural gas, according to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.
"The pipeline is important for economic development in the region of Central Asia. It's also an example of the cooperation based on equality and mutual benefits," Nazarov said.
The ambassador also noted that the energy project is a key factor in enhancing regional security and sustainable development in the Central Asian region.
Cultural exchange is one of the key factors in building friendship and mutual understanding between the peoples of the two countries, according to Nazarov.
"We highly appreciate the willingness of our Chinese partners to provide opportunities for our young people to receive education in China. We will continue sending Turkmen students to China to master knowledge in technology and the humanities. They will be our guide in studying the profound Chinese culture," he added.
"For Turkmenistan, China is not just a great state, a global economic and industrial power; China is a reliable and trusted friend. Our relations are long term and strategic. The good relationship will move forward to new achievements for the two peoples' happiness and the two countries' prosperity."
(China Daily USA 09/03/2013 page8)