China eyes deeper energy cooperation with Turkmenistan

Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli has called for a new "energy corridor" in central Asia, and energy cooperation with Turkmenistan.

During a visit to the country last week Zhang promised that China would cooperate with Turkmenistan in building natural gas pipelines between the two countries.

He told Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov that China is ready to deepen trade and economic cooperation with Turkmenistan, which has given high priority to natural gas programs, China’s state-run news agency, Xinhua, reported.

Zhang also said the two sides should jointly develop major infrastructure schemes that would give Turkmenistan access to China’s sea ports.

Zhang was visiting the Czech Republic, Turkmenistan and Russia last week. In Russia he witnessed the start of construction of a natural gas pipeline that will stretch thousands of kilometres from Siberia to Shanghai.

His comments in Turkmenistan follow a visit to China in May by Berdymukhamedov, who signed a number of cooperation agreements in such areas as energy, agriculture, transportation, finance, culture and local exchanges.

Zhang’s visit comes as China is promoting its idea for a "Silk Road" economic belt, comprising new transport links through central Asia to Europe.

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