xi's moments

Li's Tajik visit will improve ties

By ZHANG YUE | China Daily | Updated: 2018-10-15 07:47

Premier Li Keqiang meets with Tajik Prime Minister Kokhir Rasulzoda on Saturday in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, during an official visit, which concluded on Sunday. LI TAO/XINHUA

Meetings focus on pragmatic issues, bolster investment

Premier Li Keqiang's first official visit to Tajikistan has been pragmatic and is expected to further bolster bilateral business exchanges and improve livelihoods, an expert said.

Deng Hao, secretary-general of the China Center of Shanghai Cooperation Organization Studies, said that Li's visit to Tajikistan has addressed some pragmatic issues in bilateral relations and shows China's resolution in improving trade balance and opening-up.

Meeting on Saturday with Tajikistan's Prime Minister Kokhir Rasulzoda in Dushanbe, the capital, Li said China is willing to enhance cooperation between the two countries in trade, energy, transportation, connectivity and agriculture.

Noting that Sino-Tajik relations show healthy development momentum in many areas of cooperation, Li said China is willing to align the Belt and Road Initiative with the development of Tajikistan to further bolster pragmatic cooperation.

He said China encourages its companies to invest in Tajikistan in energy, power, mineral exploitation, industrial capacity and processing, and that he expects Tajikistan to further improve the business environment and support Chinese investors.

"Improving the local business environment and better facilitating Chinese investors are some of the most important issues in bilateral cooperation now," Deng said. "Properly addressing such issues will help bolster more business cooperation in areas such as connectivity and bring more jobs created by Chinese firms in Tajikistan, and increasing employment is also a focus of Tajikistan's development strategy."

Deng said that since Tajik President Emomali Rahmon's visit to China in 2017, during which the two countries established a comprehensive strategic partnership, bilateral cooperation has moved on to a development fast track.

Li told Rasulzoda that China also welcomes more imports of high quality agricultural products from Tajikistan and will further work with the country in processing such products.

Deng said this shows China's stance of improving the trade balance with Tajikistan. Bilateral trade volume reached $196 million from January to February this year, a 38.4 percent year-on-year increase, according to the Foreign Ministry.

Rasulzoda described Li's visit as "substantial and fruitful", when the two leaders spoke with the media after their talk on Saturday. He said Tajikistan is willing to participate in building the Belt and Road, enhance bilateral cooperation in trade, energy, transportation, agriculture, investment and financing, and expand cultural and people-to-people exchanges to maintain the healthy and steady development of bilateral ties.

Tajikistan is ready to coordinate closely with China under the Shanghai Cooperation Organization framework, he said.

Li met with Tajik President Rahmon on Saturday.

After wrapping up his visit to Tajikistan on Sunday, Li continued his trip to Europe, where he will make an official visit to the Netherlands, attend the Asia-Europe Meeting's 12th summit in Brussels, and pay a working visit to Belgium. He arrived in the Netherlands on Sunday.

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