China, Tajikistan pitch for closer energy co-op

Updated: 2014-09-14 19:47


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DUSHANBE - Chinese President Xi Jinping left here for the Maldives on Sunday, concluding a four-day trip to Tajikistan that has significantly boosted bilateral ties and injected fresh vigor into regional cooperation within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Regional security & development

During his stay in the Central Asian country, Xi attended the 14th meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State, which formulated a development blueprint of the group for the next decade aimed at regional stability and common prosperity.

One of the major outcomes of the Dushanbe summit is the ratification of two documents that define the basic principles of membership enlargement.

The documents set legal, administrative and financial criteria for adopting new members, and officially paved the way for aspirant countries to join the 13-year-old bloc, which groups China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

"Any country that is willing to join the SCO and meets the criteria is welcome to apply for the membership of the organization," said Xi in a speech delivered at the summit.

On security issues, the six-member bloc pledged further concerted efforts to safeguard peace and stability of the region and tackle global challenges on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual trust.

In this regard, Xi suggested the SCO members launch consultation on an anti-extremism convention and initiate studies on a mechanism for actions against internet terrorism.

"(We) should make concerted efforts to crack down on the 'three evil forces' of terrorism, extremism and separatism," he told the summit.

The Chinese president also called on the SCO members to entrust the group's Regional Counter-Terrorism Structure (RCTS) with a new function to combat drug trafficking at an early date.

On the economic front, the Eurasian leaders inked a deal on the facilitation of international road transport among the SCO member states.

Meanwhile, leaders of the SCO members agreed upon the significance of the 70th anniversary of the World War II victory and pledged joint efforts to fight against any attempts to revive fascism.

"All the SCO members will, as always, crack down on any attempts to conjure up the specter of fascism and to exploit extremism and terrorism," they said in a joint declaration issued after the summit.

On the sidelines of the summit, Xi attended a trilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, and proposed to build an economic corridor linking the three nations.

China's energy aorta

Xi's state visit to Tajikistan following the SCO summit has offered a fresh opportunity for the two countries to reaffirm commitment to deepened strategic partnership and enhanced practical cooperation.

During the visit, the two sides adopted a five-year development plan for the China-Tajikistan strategic partnership, giving high priority to energy cooperation.

Attending the groundbreaking ceremony of the Tajikistan section of Line-D of the Central Asia-China gas pipelines, Xi said the project is of strategic significance that involves and benefits multiple parties.

The 1000-km-long Line-D, one of China's major energy cooperation projects in Central Asia, will run from Turkmenistan across Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to China, with an expected delivery capacity of 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas every year once completed in 2016.

Among all countries the pipeline travels through, Tajikistan has the longest section of about 410 km.

"I believe this energy aorta, a symbol of China-Tajikistan friendship, will be built on time with joint efforts and close cooperation between our two countries," he said.

When meeting with his Tajik counterpart Emomali Rahmon, Xi proposed that the two countries set a goal of increasing bilateral trade to three billion US dollars in five years.

China is currently Tajikistan's third largest trade partner. Bilateral trade reached 1.959 billion dollars in 2013.

Xi also invited Tajikistan to join China's initiative to build the Silk Road Economic Belt for common development along the ancient trade route.

China and Tajikistan, he suggested, should cooperate more closely in oil and gas, electricity, trade and infrastructure, improve interconnectivity, and guarantee a smooth construction of the China-Central Asia gas pipelines.

Tajikistan is the first leg of Xi's four-nation Asia tour, which will also take him to the Maldives, Sri Lanka and India.