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Vice-premier seeks stronger alliance with Turkmenistan

Updated: Aug 29,2014 3:34 PM     Xinhua

The construction of an energy corridor in Central Asia is set to enter a new stage as Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli called for further energy cooperation with Turkmenistan during his visit to the country.

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 energy, Zhang said on Wednesday when meeting with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov.

He said China is ready to deepen trade and economic cooperation with Turkmenistan, which has given high priority to natural gas programs.

Zhang also suggested the sides jointly develop major projects of interconnectivity, infrastructure construction and cargo transit through China’s seaports.

Dual pledge

Zhang’s trip to the central Asian country is aimed at implementing the important consensus reached by President Xi Jinping and his Turkmen counterpart Berdymukhamedov.

In the joint declaration issued during Xi’s visit to Turkmenistan in September, the two heads of state pledged to take measures to guarantee a safe and stable operation of Lines A and B of the Turkmenistan-China natural gas pipelines, as well as a sound implementation of the natural gas project on the bank of Amu Darya, a major river in Central Asia.

When Berdymukhamedov visited China in May, the countries signed a number of cooperation agreements in such areas as energy, agriculture, transportation, finance, culture and local exchanges.

During Zhang’s visit to Turkmenistan, he said the exchange of visits by presidents of the two countries within a year has elevated the China-Turkmenistan strategic partnership to new heights.

At the third meeting of the China-Turkmenistan Cooperation Committee, Zhang urged the committee to strengthen strategic cooperation on energy by securing safe and stable operation of the natural gas pipelines.

The committee was established in November 2010 and aims to promote long-term, pragmatic and comprehensive cooperation between the countries.

Experts said Zhang’s visit will help implement the agreements, promote the building of the Silk Road economic belt and deepen cooperation.

Key component

China’s cooperation with Turkmenistan is an integral part of central Asian cooperation, represented by the construction of the China-central Asia natural gas pipelines spreading through Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and China.

The 1,830-km-long Line C, parallel to Lines A and B, started to transport natural gas to China in June at the Turkmen-Uzbek border and runs through central Uzbekistan and southern Kazakhstan before reaching China’s northwest region of Xinjiang.

Line A was launched in December 2009, and Line B in October 2010. The construction of Line D is expected to begin at the end of this year and be ready for gas transmission in 2016.