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Xi signs deals in Kyrgyzstan

2013-09-12 08:19 Global Times Web Editor: qindexing

China on Wednesday agreed credits worth over $3 billion for energy projects in Kyrgyzstan as both countries vowed to lift bilateral ties to a strategic partnership and assign priority to cooperation in economy and security.

A total of $1.4 billion of credits will go into a 225-kilometer Kyrgyzstan-China gas pipeline which will pump gas originating from energy-rich Turkmenistan to the Chinese city of Kashi, Kyrgyz Economy Minister Temir Sariyev told AFP.

The rest of the credit will go into rebuilding a power plant in Bishkek, constructing a new motorway and expanding an oil refinery, he added.

Also, visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Kyrgyz counterpart Almazbek Atambaev vowed Wednesday to boost cooperation on security and jointly fight the "three evil forces" of terrorism, extremism and separatism.

Atambayev said Kyrgyzstan was deeply thankful for Xi's visit.

"We express our great recognition of the people of China and the country's leadership for its constant economic and political help, which in our country is also felt."

He added that Kyrgyzstan supported a Chinese initiative to create a joint economic zone based along the route of the fabled historic Silk Road trade route.

The two countries vowed to make joint efforts to upgrade the bilateral trade structure, create conditions for importing each other's products, expand the trade volume, and improve the laws and regulations governing trade exchanges.

They also agreed to encourage the establishment of new joint ventures and assembly plants.

Kyrgyzstan is the last stop of Xi's ongoing overseas trip, which has taken him to Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan since September 3.

"It is a rare thing for a top Chinese leader to spend so much time visiting one area, and signals how much China values its relations with countries in Central Asia," Wu Hongwei, a Central Asia research fellow from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, wrote to the Global Times.

Xi secured several energy deals during his visit, including a purchase agreement for the 25 billion cubic meters of gas from Turkmenistan and $15 billion in agreements with Uzbekistan for exploitation of oil, gas, and uranium fields.

"Xi's visit is fruitful in the sense that it helps secure diversified energy sources for China," Lin Boxiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University, told the Global Times.

During his tour, President Xi gave a key speech on China's Central Asia policies in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, in which he proposed that China and Central Asia build a Silk Road economic belt to revive trade and exchange on the ancient route.

"The proposition of building a Silk Road economic belt was the highlight of Xi's tour. It stipulated the blueprint of the regional development with a magnitude that was rarely seen before and pointed out the important role Central Asia plays in China's westward strategy," added Wu.

Xi is due to stay in Kyrgyzstan until Friday when he will take part in a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Bishkek due to be attended by world leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rowhani.

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