Tajikistan is ready to further improve its cooperation in various fields with China, and make joint efforts to ensure the continued success of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), President Emomali Rakhmonov said in a recent interview with Chinese media.
The establishment of a friendly relationship with China was one of the great achievements that Tajikistan had made since its independence nearly 15 years ago, he said in his interview shortly ahead of the summit of the SCO heads of state to be held in Shanghai.
Celebrations were planned to be held next year to mark the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the two countries' diplomatic relations, the president added.
Regarding political contacts, Rakhmonov said he and Chinese President Hu Jintao had held talks on different occasions over expanding cooperation bilaterally or within a multilateral framework.
Over the past 15 years, Tajikistan and China had solved the complicated border issue successfully, which laid a good foundation for further bilateral cooperation, Rakhmonov said.
He mentioned in particular the opening of the Karasu pass on the Tajik-Chinese border.
"It is an important event in the history of the Tajik-Chinese relations, since it was the first time that the two countries were linked by motor traffic," Rakhmonov said.
Trade between the two countries was developing rapidly and China's influence on the Tajik economy was also growing, he said.
The president expressed satisfaction with the Tajik-Chinese trade volume which was increasing every year. In 2005, bilateral trade between the two countries had doubled from the previous year, he said.
The Tajik government was now trying to further expand and deepen bilateral trade relations with China, making use of the advantages of the two countries being so close to each other, and the fact that they had complementary economies, the president said.
The two sides were now busily negotiating possible extensive economic cooperation, which would be mutually beneficial, Rakhmonov said. He hoped it could start soon.
Other cooperation in military, judicial, cultural and educational areas had also yielded fruit, he added.
Talking about bilateral cooperation in fighting against the "three evil forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism, Rakhmonov said Tajikistan and China had been actively fighting the three forces together within the framework of SCO, and would continue the fight on the legal basis of the bilateral treaty signed in 2003.
Rakhmonov noted that a series of anti-terrorism maneuvers had been practiced in recent years within the SCO framework.
Established in 2001, the SCO comprises China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. In 2004 and 2005, it accepted Mongolia, Iran, Pakistan and India as observers.
The heads of state of the six SCO member countries will attend the summit meeting from June 15 in Shanghai, along with observers and representatives from countries and international organizations that have established cooperative relations with the SCO.
(Xinhua News Agency June 10, 2006)