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China, Central Asian nations to boost industry, investment cooperation


Kabul: The ancient Silk Road, an overland route linking the East and the West, spanning thousands of miles, with its longest part lying across the territory of Central Asia, has embodied the spirit of cooperation, mutual learning and mutual benefit for years.

Since China proposed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013, China and five Central Asian countries – namely Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – have stepped up their cooperation for greater regional development.

In a congratulatory letter addressed to the two-day forum opened Thursday in east China’s coastal city of Qingdao, Chinese President Xi Jinping said deepening industry and investment cooperation between China and the five countries of Central Asia will safeguard the stability of regional industrial development, increase engagement in world’s economic activities, and boost common prosperity.

During the summit that marked the first collective meeting among the C+C5 heads of state, Xi called on the six countries to magnify the exemplary role of good-neighborly friendship, build a cooperation belt for high-quality development, and protect the global village that enjoys peace and development.

Official figures showed that China’s trade with the five Central Asian countries totaled 70.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2022.

Meanwhile, as the BRI has become a popular international public good and platform for international cooperation, China and Central Asian countries have successfully implemented multiple infrastructure projects under this framework.

Agriculture has been a major area for cooperation between China and Central Asian countries. A great variety of Central Asian agricultural products have entered the Chinese market, including camel milk from Kazakhstan, honey from Kyrgyzstan, dried fruits from Tajikistan, cotton from Turkmenistan, and cherries from Uzbekistan, according to Xinhua.

The first China + Central Asia industry and investment cooperation forum has provided agricultural companies from both sides with another opportunity to expand their businesses.

Another field of their growing cooperation is energy industry.

Tajikistan had suffered for years a severe power shortage in winter as it used to rely on hydropower that went down drastically during the dry season.

In 2011, the Tajik government and China’s TBEA energy company jointly launched the project of the Dushanbe-2 thermal power station, a combined heat and power plant with a total installed capacity of 400 megawatts, completed in 2016.

In Uzbekistan, a chemical complex cooperation project under the framework of the BRI has changed the country’s dependence and created a large number of new jobs.

In late 2016, Xi’an Aiju Grain and Oil Industrial Group completed the construction of a 300,000-ton oil processing plant in Kazakhstan.

According to Xinhua the Industrial group has also signed 100,000 hectares (1,000 square km) of land for transnational contract farming in northern Kazakhstan.

So far, China and the five Central Asian countries have agreed to launch dozens of major projects on production capacity cooperation, covering automobiles, energy, metallurgy, chemical industry and medicine, with a total investment of over 20 billion dollars.

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