China and Turkmenistan agreed Wednesday to further deepen cooperation on trade, agriculture, high technology, transport, education and culture.
During his visit to the Central Asian nation from Tuesday to Wednesday, Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli met with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov and co-chaired the third meeting of the China-Turkmenistan Cooperation Committee with Turkmen Deputy Prime Minister Baymyrat Hojamuhammedov.
During talks with Berdymukhamedov, Zhang said natural gas programs have been a priority in economic cooperation between China and Turkmenistan. The heads of state of the two countries have personally taken care of and pushed forward cooperation in this area.
He said China will closely cooperate with Turkmenistan in further advancing the construction of natural gas pipelines linking the two countries and jointly boost safe transportation of international energy.
China has become the top trading partner and natural gas export market for Turkmenistan for the last three consecutive years. Two-way trade topped $10 billion last year. The China-Turkmenistan gas pipeline has transmitted more than 90 billion cubic meters of natural gas over the past few years.
Zhang said the two countries should further deepen trade and economic cooperation by jointly developing a number of big projects in the areas of interconnectivity, infrastructure construction and cargo transit through China’s sea ports.
He said the two sides should stage in each other’s country such activities as Economy Day, commercial exhibitions and economic forums.
Zhang said the exchange of visits by presidents of the two countries within a year had elevated the China-Turkmenistan strategic partnership to a new height and made important strategic arrangements for bilateral cooperation in all areas. Bilateral relations had entered a “fast lane,” he said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Turkmenistan in September and Berdymukhamedov visited China in May.
Zhang said his visit is aimed at implementing the consensus reached by the two heads of state. He said China regards Turkmenistan as a good friend, partner and brother.
Zhang said that no matter how the international situation changes, China is ready to make joint efforts with Turkmenistan to foster friendship, seek mutual benefits, deepen cooperation and achieve common development and prosperity.
Berdymukhamedov said the China-Turkmenistan strategic partnership has seen smooth growth as the two countries continue to enhance mutual trust, deepen trade and economic cooperation, expand people-to-people and cultural exchanges and actively cooperate on international issues within the framework of the United Nations.
He said Turkmenistan sticks to the “one-China” policy and supports China in its effort to safeguard sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Berdymukhamedov said energy cooperation is a major aspect of bilateral cooperation. He said his country will work with China to jointly advance construction of natural gas pipelines.
Cooperation in transportation, telecommunications and other areas has produced remarkable results and has great potential, the president said.
During talks with his Turkmen counterpart Hojamuhammedov at the third meeting of the China-Turkmenistan Cooperation Committee, Zhang said the ties between China and Turkmenistan have been growing continuously in recent years, with mutual political trust reaching unprecedented high.
The two countries have become true strategic partners as they firmly supported each other on major issues concerning each other’s core interests, made breakthroughs in key areas of cooperation, and reached major consensus on building the Silk Road Economic Belt, Zhang said.
The China-Turkmenistan Cooperation Committee has done large amounts of efficient work to facilitate the development of the bilateral relations, he said.
Under new circumstances, further consolidating the China-Turkmenistan strategic partnership is of great significance to the stability and development of both countries, Zhang said.
He urged the China-Turkmenistan Cooperation Committee to strengthen strategic cooperation on energy by securing safe and stable operation of the natural gas pipeline.
He said the committee should work on optimizing the structure of bilateral trade, expanding transport cooperation, facilitating people-to-people exchanges and advancing the development of the Silk Road Economic Belt.
Zhang said the committee should also work on expanding people-to-people exchanges by staging Culture Day activities and promoting exchanges between universities, media and local governments of the two countries.
He said the committee should also deepen security cooperation in the fight against the three evil forces of terrorism, separatism and extremism. The two sides should further enhance the capability of preventing and addressing major emergency security incidents.
Zhang’s view was echoed by Hojamuhammedov who stressed that enhancing Turkmenistan-China strategic partnership and mutually beneficial cooperation always tops the agenda of Turkmenistan’s foreign policies.
The recent years have witnessed a robust progress of pragmatic cooperation in various areas between the pals, he added.
Noting that China has become the largest market for Turkmen exports, Hojamuhammedov said Turkmenistan will continue to work with China to promote cooperation in oil and gas, trade, investment, transport, agriculture, as well as education and culture.