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Oil drilling deal inked with Uzbekistan
By Jiang Zhuqing (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-06-16 00:52

As part of growing ties with Uzbekistan, China's largest oil company will work with Uzbek Oil and Gas to widen the scope of joint explorations.

The deal is one of ten agreements signed Tuesday to cap a visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao to that country.

Hu and Uzbek President Islam Abduganiyevich Karimov signed a joint statement that should see relations between the two nations improve further.

Uzbek President Islam Karimov (left) and a military honour guard greet visiting Chinese counterpart Hu Jintaoat official welcoming ceremony at a residence outside Tashkent yesterday. Hu arrived at Uzbekistan's capital for an official visit and the Shanghai Co-operation Organization (SCO) summit, which will be held on Friday. [Reuters]

The agreement between China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and Uzbekneftegaz (Uzbek Oil and Gas) aims to seek opportunities to develop a closer partnership on surveying and drilling for oil and gas between the two companies, said Chen Geng, general manager of the CNPC.

The CNPC, which has already exported US$80 million worth of equipment to drill 10 wells in Uzbekistan, plans to provide further engineering services to the Uzbek company, said Chen.

As the two oil producers greased the wheels of co-operation, so did the two countries. Hu and Karimov signed a joint statement that touches on economics, technology, education, culture and exchanges between the two countries. The statement also looks at bans of sales and use of narcotics in both countries.

Both nations also agreed to continue developing friendly relations that benefit both.

In 12 articles, the statement also covers more specific but wide ranging areas such as high-level contacts, financial and trade co-operation, environmental protection and the fight against the three forces of terrorism, separatism and extremism in the region.

The two sides pledged continued support of each other's efforts to maintain sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and promised not to belong to any union or group that harms those national rights of the other.

At the same time, both China and Uzbekistan will outlaw groups that threaten their land or damage the sovereignty, safety and integrity of the other, the joint statement says.

Meanwhile, the Uzbek side reiterated that Taiwan is an inseparable part of China and the Uzbek Government will never establish official relations with the island, according to the joint statement.

Hailing Hu's state visit as having great significance, Karimov said it would strongly push forward the development of friendly relations.

Hu agreed, saying China will work with Uzbekistan to push forward bilateral ties.

The two nations should continue the trend of high-level contacts and increase consensus so as to create a solid political foundation for the development of relations, Hu said.

To maintain the safety and stability of the region, the two nations should work closely to combat "the three forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism together as well as within the Shanghai Co-operation Organization and other international organizations, Hu added.

The two sides should upgrade the economic and trade ties by optimizing the trade mix and strengthening co-operation in communications, energy and infrastructure.

Cultural exchanges should be promoted to bring the two peoples closer, Hu said.

Karimov stressed that Uzbekistan stands side-by-side with China to fight "the three forces" and on many other major international issues.

President Hu arrived in the Uzbek capital on Monday for a state visit and plans to attend the summit of the Shanghai Co-operation Organization here.

Uzbekistan is the last leg of Hu's four-nation cross-continental tour.

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