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China, Turkmenistan Vow to Step Up Cooperation in Energy, Security
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China and Turkmenistan have vowed to step up bilateral cooperation, especially in specialized fields such as energy and regional security.


China and Turkmenistan faced similar tasks in economic development and maintaining regional peace and stability, and shared a common aspiration to promote bilateral relations, Premier Wen Jiabao said in Beijing on Wednesday.


Speaking during a meeting with the visiting Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, Wen said China valued ties with Turkmenistan, which it regarded as a very important partner in central Asia.


Wen said China appreciated Turkmenistan's neutrality policy and promised that China would make joint efforts with Turkmenistan to maintain peace, stability and prosperity in the region.


The two countries shared huge potential for cooperation in trade and energy, Wen said, urging both sides to continue to implement bilateral agreements and work closely on the natural gas pipeline project to establish "long-term and stable energy cooperation with mutual benefit."


China and Turkmenistan signed a natural gas supply contract on Tuesday after talks between Berdymukhamedov and President Hu Jintao. Under the contract, China National Petroleum Corporation, the largest Chinese oil producer, will import 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually through the planned Central Asia Gas Pipeline for 30 years from Turkmenistan.


Responding to Wen, Berdymukhamedov said Turkmenistan hoped to strengthen cooperation with China in the energy and security fields, thoroughly carry out the natural gas pipeline project, and undertake the joint mission to safeguard regional peace and stability.


Later, Berdymukhamedov also met with  top legislator Wu Bangguo. He told Wu that the development of relations with China topped the country's foreign policy.


Turkmenistan would join China in the construction of "a new Silk Road" to boost friendship between the two peoples, Berdymukhamedov said.


Wu, chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC), said the NPC valued relations with the Turkmenistan parliament.


"We should work closer to intensify exchanges and cooperation between the two parliaments, to consolidate and expand the social foundation for the China-Turkmenistan friendly relations," Wu said.


Berdymukhamedov arrived in Beijing Tuesday afternoon to start a two-day state visit. It is his first visit to China since he became president in February.


(Xinhua News Agency July 19, 2007)

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