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China - Central Asia: a new paradigm of cooperation

16.02.2023 | 21:57 |
 China - Central Asia: a new paradigm of cooperation

China and five Central Asian countries opened the first-ever forum on industrial and investment cooperation in Qingdao, Shandong Province on Thursday. The event is aimed at expanding cooperation in the field of digital economy, energy and agriculture.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has sent a congratulatory letter to the China + Central Asia Forum for Industrial and Investment Cooperation (C+C5), highly appreciating the strategic partnership between China and the five Central Asian countries that paved the way for a new paradigm of international relations, Xinhua news agency reports.

Xi Jinping noted that China is ready to share its super-large market, developed industrial system and advanced technologies with the Central Asian countries, deepen business cooperation, achieve mutually beneficial results, work together to promote the qualitative development of the regional economy and build a closer community with a common future.

The Chinese President announced the launch of the forum for the first time in his speech at the virtual summit on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Central Asian countries on January 25, 2022.

Today the forum brought together 300 representatives of embassies in China of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, as well as business. The Vice Prime Ministers of the five Central Asian countries spoke via video link.

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Deputy Prime Minister Hojamyrat Geldimyradov, who oversees finance and economy in the Turkmen government, said in his speech that in recent years the role of China and Central Asian countries in the development of the region and the world has been constantly increasing, and their contribution to the economy is increasing. Industry and investment are key areas of cooperation between the two countries and play an important role in stimulating economic growth. He noted that cooperation with China and Central Asian countries is the most important strategic direction of Turkmenistan's foreign economic development.

"In comparison with 2001, the volume of Turkmenistan's foreign trade with China and Central Asian countries will increase 1.6 times in 2022, reaching 10.3 billion US dollars. We highly appreciate mutual understanding and trust between the two countries," Geldimyradov said.

The forum includes separate sessions dedicated to industrial Internet, cooperation in the field of energy and global cooperation in agriculture, the local newspaper Qingdao Daily reports. In addition, the Qingdao International Energy Trade Center and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Agricultural Development Alliance will be launched during the forum, the report says.

The Forum will become another important platform for cooperation between China and Central Asia in a wide range of areas, Chinese businessmen and analysts say.

"From a practical point of view, the forum will contribute to the development of cooperation between China and the five Central Asian countries in the field of energy, food, climate change and other areas within the framework of the One Belt, One Road Initiative (OBOR)," said Zhu Yongbiao, executive director of the One Belt, One Road Research Center in Lanzhou University, the Global Times reported on Thursday.


From the point of view of energy cooperation, all Central Asian countries have their advantages, the expert said, adding that Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are rich in fossil fuels, and Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have hydropower resources.

Thus, energy cooperation includes cooperation of the entire industry chain, including new energy sources, fossil sources, climate management, and so on.

Energy cooperation between China and Central Asian countries is expanding. For example, there are several major energy trade projects, including the Turkmenistan-China gas pipeline. The countries are also considering the possibility of accelerated construction of Line D of this gas pipeline.

Agriculture has also become an important area of cooperation between China and Central Asian countries. "In the field of agriculture, the climate in the northwestern regions of our country, including Gansu and Xinjiang, is relatively close to the climate of the five Central Asian countries. Some agricultural technologies, seed science, seed production and other technologies have a great potential for cooperation," Zhu Yongbiao said.

Another area of growing cooperation between China and Central Asian countries is transport links. The location of the region makes it a key link of the Belt and Road and the China-Europe railway express.


The growing trade cooperation between China and Central Asian countries will contribute to the further development of regional ties, and cross-border transportation has improved significantly after the adjusted measures to combat COVID, the Global Times noted on Thursday.

According to official data, China's trade turnover with Central Asian countries in 2022 reached $ 70.2 billion, an increase of about 40% compared to 2021 and 100 times in the 30 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations.

Qingdao is also home to the demonstration zone of local economic cooperation between China and the SCO, which has seen a steady increase in trade with Central Asian countries. Since the creation of the demonstration zone, more than 1,400 freight trains have been sent to five Central Asian countries and 19 China-Europe freight train routes have been opened, China Media Group reported on Thursday.


Photo: Visual China Group

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