China’s top diplomat vows stronger security, anti-terror ties with Tajikistan


Apart from joining hands on security and anti-terror mechanisms, “the two sides can strengthen cooperation in the United Nations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the China-Central Asia mechanism, [so as to] safeguard the common interests of the two countries and other developing countries”, he was quoted as saying.

Wang’s visit to Dushanbe was part of a four-day trip to Tajikistan and Kazakhstan that will include an SCO foreign ministers’ meeting in Kazakh capital Astana starting on Monday.

China and the five landlocked Central Asian countries – also including Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – formalised their cooperation mechanism during a high-profile summit hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping in the northwestern city of Xian a year ago.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), on the other hand, is a regional political, economic and security grouping set up by China, Russia and four ex-Soviet Central Asian states in 2001. Its nine member states today include India, Pakistan as well as Iran, which officially joined last year. Turkmenistan, which professes “permanent neutrality”, is the only Central Asian country that is not an SCO member.

Beijing has increasingly placed greater emphasis on Central Asian ties as it tries to counter what President Xi has called a US-led Western campaign of “containment, encirclement and suppression of China”.

The Chinese leadership also hopes to bolster ties with the region given its strategic and geographical significance to the Beijing-led Belt and Road Initiative, with Russia’s influence in the post-Soviet region appearing to wane as it is caught up in its prolonged war in Ukraine.

Xi and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, in a joint statement after meeting in Beijing on Thursday, agreed to “continue to develop mutually beneficial cooperation with the countries of the Central Asian region and strengthen collaboration within international organisations and mechanisms, including the [SCO]”.

Tajik leader Rahmon, who has been in power for more than 30 years, told Wang of “his satisfaction” with how relations with Beijing were growing, according to a readout from Dushanbe.

The two sides also discussed expanding ties in sectors such as mining, transport, energy and agriculture, the statement said.

“Tajikistan’s commitment to active cooperation with China on the implementation of joint projects related to the ‘green economy’, digital economy, artificial intelligence and production in Tajikistan using ‘green technologies’ was emphasised,” it read.

The readout added that Rahmon and Wang exchanged views on issues related to security, “primarily [on] confronting the threats and dangers of the modern world”, while “great attention” was paid to strengthening multilateral cooperation, especially within the SCO and the “China plus Central Asia” format.

China has long regarded Central Asia as crucial to maintaining stability in its northwestern Xinjiang region and to keeping it free of terrorist influence.

Addressing Tajikistan’s social activists and religious workers in March, Rahmon said the number of terrorist acts by Tajikistan citizens in other countries had increased in recent years.

Citing reports, he said that 24 Tajik nationals had carried out terrorist acts in 10 countries in the past three years alone.

“These inhuman acts harm the Tajik state and the Tajik nation’s reputation on the global stage,” he said.

Just two weeks later, four Tajik nationals were charged as suspects in the deadly March 22 terrorist attack on a Moscow concert hall.

02:31

Russia charges 4 men with terrorism after more than 130 killed in Moscow concert attack

Russia charges 4 men with terrorism after more than 130 killed in Moscow concert attack

Chinese commerce vice-minister Ling Ji met Tajikistan’s trade minister Zavqizoda Zavqi Amin in Beijing on May 8, and called for talks to upgrade the bilateral investment agreement at the earliest.

A statement from the Tajik side said the two sides agreed to implement priority investment projects, including on green energy, the building of a logistics centre, three overpasses and one bridge in the capital city of Dushanbe, and reconstruction of a section of a highway that is the only overland route between the two countries.

China is the second largest trading partner of Tajikistan, after Russia.

Exports to Tajikistan grew 3.7 per cent year on year during the first four months of 2024, while imports fell 13.3 per cent, according to Chinese customs data.



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