Tajikistan president visits China

Updated: 2013-05-21 01:36

By Li Xiaokun (China Daily)

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China and Tajikistan established a strategic partnership on Monday, which observers said would benefit the two countries' economies and regional stability.

President Xi Jinping and his visiting Tajik counterpart Emomali Rakhmon signed a joint statement announcing the partnership after talks at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Rakhmon arrived in China on Sunday for a two-day state visit.

During the talks, Xi told Rakhmon that the strategic partnership is of great significance to the two nations' stability, development and cooperation.

Rakhmon said Tajikistan would like to be a trusting and strategic partner of China and would continue supporting China on issues related to its core interests and key concerns.

They also vowed to boost joint efforts to combat the "three evil forces" of separatism, extremism and terrorism, as well as drug-related crimes.

On the Afghanistan issue, the two leaders said they oppose external forces' intervention in the domestic affairs of Central Asian nations and undermining of stability.

SCO framework

China and Tajikistan support accelerating the peace process and reconstruction in Afghanistan and would like to strengthen cooperation under the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to protect regional stability, the leaders said.

Li Xin, director of the Center of Russian and Central Asian Studies at Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, said Tajikistan has great significance in terms of security for China.

"Tajikistan borders Afghanistan, and terrorists in the two countries have remained in contact. The situation in Tajikistan impacts security in western China," Li said.

The two presidents also agreed on Monday to promote cooperation in areas ranging from traffic and agriculture to financing and cultural exchanges.

The two nations announced in the joint statement that they would expand cooperation on exploration and development of minerals and energy, including renewable energy.

They also plan to expand cooperation on electricity infrastructure construction, "including discussing the possibility of providing electricity to western China", the statement said.

According to the General Administration of Customs, China was Tajikistan's fourth-largest trade partner in the first quarter of this year, accounting for 9.9 percent of Tajikistan's total trade volume.

Zhao Huirong, a Central Asian studies researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the establishment of the strategic partnership is a major event for both nations. "There is huge potential in their cooperation in energy and other fields.

"Relations with Tajikistan are related to both the stability and development of western China, and are an important part of China's blueprint for diplomacy in Central Asia," Zhao said.