China seeks better economic ties with Eurasia

By Liang Chen in Urumqi Source:Global Times Published: 2013-9-3 1:03:01

Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao stressed Monday at the opening ceremony of the China-Eurasia Expo that China and Eurasian countries should enhance regional economic development and cooperation to advance political mutual trust and improve the region's security environment.

Addressing the third China-Eurasia Economic Development and Cooperation Forum held in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Li said greater openness and cooperation is vital to development and prosperity on the Eurasian continent.

"The Eurasian region is stable on the whole. Yet, local turbulence and terrorist activities happen from time to time," Li told the forum on Monday. "Faced with such threats which are often transnational, no country can stay immune. Cooperation among all countries is the only viable way to uphold regional security."

Xinjiang, which covers one-sixth of China's land mass and holds rich oil and gas reserves, borders several key regional players, including Russia, Kazakhstan and Pakistan.

In the next five years, China will import goods worth $8 trillion from Asia and Europe, and will invest over $450 billion in Asia and Europe, Li said.

The forum has attracted dozens of leading political figures from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Nepal. The week-long expo has attracted 50 countries and regions, and seven international organizations.

Analysts noted the expo will prove to be a high-profile platform for boosting regional development and security.

"Business is not only business. By enhancing economic ties with Eurasian countries, China and Eurasian countries will achieve mutual benefits," Pei Changhong, director of the Institute of Economics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

"By holding expos, the cooperation between Xinjiang and Eurasian countries will play a significant role in the greater openness of China, and also greatly boost regional development and China's relations with neighboring countries in central and eastern Asia."

Participating delegations and international organizations highly evaluated China's potential in pushing forward regional development and security.

"We highly value the cooperation with the Chinese government, as China is a huge market and we hope more and more Chinese will visit Altai," Roman G. Ruzanov, consultant at the Office of International and Interregional Affairs at Russia's Altai Region Administration, told the Global Times, adding that tourism promotion events are slated to be held in several cities in Xinjiang during the expo.

"The trading volume between China and Turkey is growing, and the trend is good. We can expect the economic cooperation between China and Turkey and other central Asian countries to go deeper and deeper," Alper Tokozlu, head of department at the General Directorate of Imports under the Ministry of Economy of Turkey, told the Global Times. 

Statistics from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce showed that trade in goods between China and Turkey reached $13.83 billion, growing by 18.8 percent year-on-year.

"Xinjiang is the connecting point between Central and East Asia, and it plays its part well due to the promotion of the central government," said Edward Smith, representative and head of the Regional Office of the UN's Industrial Development Organization, UNIDO.

China has invested a huge amount of money building railways and roads connecting Xinjiang with Eurasian countries. The China-Central Asia natural gas pipelines, extending over 1,800 kilometers, have benefited the people of countries along the lines.

Posted in: Business, Economy

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