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President Hu suggests countries accelerate building of infrastructure
China has called for closer security and economic cooperation with Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, two central Asian nations bordering Northwest China.
China and Tajikistan should increase cooperation in areas including energy, resources, infrastructure, agriculture and security, President Hu Jintao told his visiting Tajik counterpart Emomali Rahmon on Tuesday.
Rahmon will attend the 12th Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit, which is to be held on Wednesday and Thursday.
Hu said the two countries' law enforcement and security departments should maintain close communication and coordination, and that China supports Tajikistan as host of the anti-terror "Peace Mission 2012" drill of the SCO.
The drill will be held from June 8 to 14, involving more than 2,000 military personnel from China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Tajikistan is ready to expand cooperation with China in areas including energy, agriculture, transportation and jointly combating "the three evil forces" of terrorism, extremism and separatism, as well as cross-border crimes such as drug trafficking, Rahmon said.
"Facts proved that Tajikistan and China are close neighbors and reliable partners," Rahmon said, adding that developing comprehensive and friendly cooperation with China is one of the priorities of Tajik foreign policy.
Later in the day, Hu held talks with Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev, who will also attend the SCO summit, which groups China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Hu suggested the two countries accelerate the construction of the railway and road connecting China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
The two countries should also vigorously promote the upgrading of the power grid in Kyrgyzstan and jointly develop cross-border hydropower, said Hu.
Hu also urged the two sides to improve the investment environment and increase local cooperation between border areas.
Cooperation should be expanded in anti-terrorism, drug control, border defense, security of large-scale events and emergency responses, said Hu.
"Kyrgyzstan and China have a broad cooperation prospect," said Atambayev, citing trade, railway, road, power, agriculture, mining and light industry as areas in which to deepen bilateral cooperation.
Analysts said the two central Asian nations, despite their small sizes and population, have great potential in cooperating with China.
"As two countries bordering China's northwestern Xinjiang, they can have effective cooperation with China in combating the three evil forces," said Wu Hongwei, a researcher with the Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Trade volumes have been on the rise at a fast pace in recent years, said Wu.
Statistics from Chinese Customs show trade between China and Tajikistan in the first quarter this year reached $320 million, an increase of 66 percent compared with the same period in 2011.
Statistics from Kyrgyz authorities show trade volume between China and Kyrgyzstan in the first quarter this year reached $173 million, an increase of 15 percent over the same period in 2011.
China is Kyrgyzstan's third-largest trading partner.
Wu noted that in recent years, Chinese companies have overcome difficulties with infrastructure construction projects in mountainous areas of the two countries, and local people have praised their work.
"As they are developing hydropower, China can help them upgrade facilities and cooperate in utilizing water resources," Wu added.
(China Daily 06/06/2012 page3)