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Developing Ties with China Has Special Significance: Turkmenistan
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Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov, who is going to pay a visit to China shortly, says developing ties with China has special significance for his country.


Relations between Turkmenistan and China enjoy a long history of development, characterized by exchanges on the ancient Silk Road linking China and Central Asian nations, including Turkmenistan, Niyazov said in a recent interview with Xinhua.


After Turkmenistan won independence in 1991, China was among the first countries to recognize the independent sovereignty of the Central Asian country and open an embassy in the capital Ashkhabad, said Niyazov.


Since then, China has provided Turkmenistan with assistance in an all-round way to help the latter build an independence state, he added.


Niyazov said he and President Hu Jintao discussed ways of carrying out mutually beneficial cooperation between their two countries, especially in the field of oil and natural gas, when they met in Moscow last May.


Noting the good prospects for bilateral cooperation in the field, Niyazov said the two countries are currently considering plans to lay a natural gas pipeline from the Amu-darya River region in Turkmenistan to the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwest China.


Chinese firms are most welcome to come to Turkmenistan to help tap the oil resources around the Caspian Sea areas, and they can also join in the exploitation in the existing land-based natural gas fields, said Niyazov.


Turkmenistan and China have always supported each other in political affairs, he said, adding that the two countries can discuss any issue of mutual concern, reach a consensus and then conduct cooperation on the basis of mutual benefit.


China has Turkmenistan's full support for its principled stand on reunification across the Taiwan Straits, he said.


He said China is on a road of rapid development and has become one of the most important countries in the world.


Turkmenistan pays high tribute to China's role in maintaining peace and promoting security in Central Asia, he said, adding that he was looking forward to meeting President Hu and other Chinese leaders.


(Xinhua News Agency March 31, 2006)

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