The Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwest China should be built into a resource passage, connecting China and Central Asia, a political adviser said yesterday.
"I hope the issue could be involved in the 11th Five-Year Outlines (2006-10), and the State Council could publish supporting policies," said Shou Jiahua, a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee.
She advised the government to accelerate the construction of the second China-Kazakhstan oil transportation pipe and the China-Turkey gas transportation pipe.
Construction of the first oil transportation pipe connecting China and Kazakhstan has been completed.
As the westernmost region of China, Xinjiang borders eight countries, including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
Central Asian countries are abundant in mineral resources. Their gas and oil storages are 7,900 billion cubic meters and 2.7 billion tons respectively, sources said.
"Cooperation between China and Central Asian countries will deepen if we accelerate exploration steps in mineral resources in Central Asia," Shou said yesterday in her speech at the second plenary meeting of the ongoing annual session of the CPPCC National Committee.
Development of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will also be promoted, according to Shou.
The SCO, a regional organization founded in June 2001, groups China with Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
It is reported that many major global mineral enterprises have entered Central Asia to explore their resources.
It is expected that resource exploration in Central Asia will help increase the financial revenue of the involved countries.
At the same time, resource development in Xinjiang should accelerate, according to Shou.
Nearly 140 types of minerals, or 80 percent of the total varieties in the country, have been found in Xinjiang.
"Xinjiang is capable of being China's major oil, gas, coal and nonferrous metal base," she said.
However, only less than 12 percent of the total area of Xinjiang was prospected.
Shou urged for bigger investment in prospecting mineral resources in Xinjiang.
China's economic development is restricted by its resource supply.
"So we have to enhance efficiency of resource usage and make good use of the resources at home and abroad," Shou said.
(China Daily March 9, 2006)