Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, Chairman of the Halk Maslahaty of Milli Gengesh of Turkmenistan
Responding with pleasure to the offer of the newspaper “People’s Daily,” I would like to share some thoughts on the progress and prospects for the development of friendly, fraternal relations between Turkmenistan and the People’s Republic of China from the pages of this respected and authoritative media.
This year we celebrated a significant anniversary – the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkmenistan and China. Meanwhile, relations between Turkmenistan and China have a centuries-old history. Throughout its entire course, a beneficial process of mutual cognition, mutual penetration of cultures, traditions, and worldviews took place between the two peoples. The Great Silk Road, which connected our countries, was a bridge not only for mutually beneficial trade exchange, but also for broad civilizational communication. In this sense, looking back on our history, I believe it has played a huge positive role in the fate of Turkmen and Chinese, and has become the solid foundation on which we, the heirs and successors of this unique experience, are developing cooperation in the current conditions, deepening our ties, and ensuring their continuity.
Today, Turkmenistan and China can be proud of the achieved level of mutual trust and understanding, and I would call the relations between the two states, without exaggeration, exemplary. Effective mechanisms of cooperation in various spheres have been established, a solid legal framework has been created, fruitful contacts are being carried out at the government level, ties between business structures, public organizations, cultural and scientific figures, along party and parliamentary lines are expanding. There is a lively, creative process of mutual rapprochement between the two states and peoples, laying a strong foundation of friendship and cooperation for decades to come.
The current content of the Turkmen-Chinese relations is conditioned by full mutual understanding both in views on the priorities and prospects of bilateral partnership and on the trends of global development. The most important factor is the proximity or coincidence of our approaches to the problems of ensuring universal stability and security, countering political, national and religious extremism, and terrorist threats. Together with China, we stand for equality and justice in international affairs, for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, and support the measures taken by the world community to effectively respond to global challenges.
In September 2013, having signed a Joint Declaration on the establishment of strategic partnership relations, we moved to a new, higher level of cooperation. Today, this document forms the basic framework of relations between Turkmenistan and China, defines the nature, direction and content of bilateral ties. And here I would like to emphasize the support that the PRC provides to Turkmenistan in the international arena, to the initiatives that our country takes at the United Nations. In turn, Turkmenistan always clearly and unambiguously formulates its approaches to issues relevant to our Chinese partners, including those related to the territorial integrity and unity of the People’s Republic of China. We firmly adhere to the “One China Policy” and oppose any manifestations of separatism.
I also think it’s important to emphasize how similar our stances are on such crucial issues as the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the reform of the UN and its Security Council, the peaceful revival of Afghanistan, the adoption of effective measures to ensure energy and environmental security.
The discussion of the situation in Central Asia takes a significant place on the agenda of the Turkmen-Chinese dialogue. Here, the basic attitudes of our countries are also close: both Turkmenistan and the People’s Republic of China advocate the creation of a solid security system in the region based on a multilateral balance of interests and commitment to political and diplomatic methods of solving emerging problems. In these matters, both Turkmenistan and China act as responsible members of the world community and make a considerable practical contribution to the creation of regional cooperation mechanisms. In this regard, I would like to emphasize China’s constructive role in regional processes, both political and economic, as well as its balanced approaches to cooperation in Central Asia.
China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative is being actively combined with Turkmenistan’s “Revival of the Great Silk Road” strategy. In modern conditions, the existence of objective mutual interests allows Turkmenistan and China to successfully build up partnership in the context of the implementation of these strategies. Both of them are designed to give a powerful impetus to economic development in Eurasia, uniting vast spaces from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean on modern principles, forming interconnected production and technological cycles and industrial belts, contributing to the solution of many social problems, improving the quality of life and well-being of peoples.
I am convinced that the cornerstone of the new look of geo-economics on our continent should be the diversification of cooperation. This is an objective process, where any constructive ideas, strategies and initiatives are designed to complement each other based on the compatibility of interests and long-term goals. In this context, I believe that the project of the revival of the Great Silk Road in its philosophy and geo-economic sense is interfaced with the Chinese global initiative “One Belt, One Road”.
The most important priority of cooperation between Turkmenistan and China is the fuel and energy sector. Which, of course, is understandable: our states have a huge potential there. The construction and commissioning of the Turkmenistan–China strategic gas pipeline at the end of 2009 proved this. The implementation of this project was an example of a true partnership based on equality, awareness of mutual advantages, and a large-scale vision of the prospects and opportunities that opened up with the start of the gas pipeline. This is a real, practical implementation of the goal of ensuring a balance of interests of all participants in pipeline energy projects – producers, transit companies, and consumers.
Today we are working on increasing the volume of supplies of Turkmen natural gas, taking into account the growing needs of the PRC economy and the possibilities of Turkmenistan’s resource base. In this regard, we are ready for a substantive discussion of the possibilities of building the 4th pipeline route from Turkmenistan to China.
Both sides attach great importance to the development of transport cooperation. We consider China as the most important partner in the Asia-Pacific region, largely taking into account the fact that this particular direction is today a strategic priority of our entire foreign economic policy.
Currently, Turkmenistan, together with its partners, is creating an extensive network of combined transport, transit and logistics infrastructure along the East-West and North–South lines. In the future, it will include transit corridors leading to the regions of the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea basin, and the Baltic. This opens up an optimal overland route to European and Middle Eastern markets through the territory of Central Asia from the Asia-Pacific region. I am convinced that huge opportunities for cooperation are opening up for Turkmenistan and China in this segment. This is particularly relevant in connection with the implementation in Turkmenistan of major national projects in the transport, communication spheres, in the reconstruction of coastal infrastructure on the Caspian Sea. Our efforts should be directed toward achieving the objectives we are discussing with our Chinese counterparts, namely the full unlocking the potential for transportation from China via Turkmenistan to Europe and the Middle East by all means of transportation, including railways and highways, air traffic, and other infrastructure systems. These systems should also include logistics terminals at hubs, one of which may be the port of Turkmenbashi on the Caspian Sea.
All these issues are being fruitfully discussed within the framework of the Turkmen-Chinese Intergovernmental Cooperation Committee, at the meeting of which 5 documents were signed in November 2021, including the Program of Cooperation between the Government of Turkmenistan and the Government of the People’s Republic of China for the period 2021-2025. We consider this Program, adopted at the initiative of the distinguished President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping, as a solid basis for further progress.
Turkmenistan is closely observing China’s progress and applauding its successes. And they are really unique. By historical standards, China has advanced rapidly in the fields of science, technology, and economics, bringing to a steady rise in industrial output and the implementation of significant social initiatives. China has managed to achieve an outstanding result – to overcome poverty, and today the country is confidently moving towards the creation of a welfare state.
There is no doubt that such grandiose successes were made possible thanks to the political will, determination and the unmistakable strategic course developed by the Communist Party of China, with the support and understanding of the Chinese people.
The wisdom and foresight of the CPC leadership allowed the country to embark on the path of national revival and prosperity, to follow it consistently, in an atmosphere of stability, self-confidence. It is no coincidence that the internal and foreign policy of the Communist Party has earned China great authority and respect in the world, the support of the vast majority of the world’s states, including Turkmenistan.
It is difficult to overestimate the role of Chinese President Xi Jinping in public administration. He is certainly one of the most outstanding and large-scale state and political figures of our time. Xi Jinping’s name is associated with an entire epoch in the history of the Chinese people, embodying the political, economic and technological power of modern China, integrity and firmness in defending the country’s national interests in the international arena, responsibility and foresight in relations with other states. And, taking this opportunity, I would like to express my great gratitude to the President of the People’s Republic of China for his invaluable contribution to the development of strategic partnership with Turkmenistan, constant care and attention to relations with our country.
It is natural that the Concept of President Xi Jinping “Building a Community of the common destiny of mankind” includes a Community of the Common Destiny of China and Turkmenistan. This is a very capacious and deep formula. It reflects the commonality of our states in the vision of their strategic development priorities, approaches and goals in building a just world order based on equality, respect, non-interference, the establishment of understandable and inviolable principles based on the responsibility of each country for the fate of all mankind – a world order without dividing lines, artificial civilizational faults, narrowly understood national or group interests.
The concept of “Building a Community of the common destiny of mankind” in this sense provides huge opportunities for the development of bilateral relations between Turkmenistan and China in ensuring peace and security on the planet, creates basic prerequisites for effective joint work in the international arena on the agenda of sustainable development, successful overcoming of new threats and challenges.
As you know, Turkmenistan has put forward the global initiative “Dialogue is a guarantee of peace”, and President Xi Jinping has proposed the “Global Development Initiative” and the “Global Security Initiative”. These initiatives essentially have a common ideological and political basis. They urge all nations and leaders to reflect on the dangers of further military-political rivalry and escalation, to acknowledge that humanity has come to a dangerous line, and to realize that doing so could result in the destruction of the entire international security system with unforeseeable consequences.
The initiatives of Turkmenistan and China are dictated, first of all, by concern for millions of ordinary people who are far from politics, who need peace, stability, the opportunity to work, guarantees of a calm, peaceful future. The relevance of our initiatives, in my opinion, is already obvious, and Turkmenistan, together with China, is doing everything possible today to make these concepts the determining factors of international and regional policy, create conditions for moving away from the aforementioned dangerous line and making responsible decisions on the peaceful, political and diplomatic settlement of conflicts and contradictions. Of course, on the principles of equality and respect for the legitimate interests of the parties.
I am sure that the upcoming Congress of the Communist Party of China at the end of 2022 will be an event at which the most important decisions will be taken on the further progressive development of the People’s Republic of China in all spheres. I have no doubt that it will further strengthen the role of the CPC as the driving guiding force of the Chinese people, ensure continuity and continuation of the strategic course taken by the party aimed at further growth of the economy and social sphere of China, improving the welfare of people, strengthening the country’s international position as one of the recognized leaders in preserving and ensuring universal peace, stability and development, a friend and reliable partner of all peace-loving forces on the planet, a conductor of the principles of equality, justice and mutual respect in interstate relations.
I wish the Communist Party of China and its leadership success in holding the upcoming congress, and I have no doubt that its constructive results will have a huge beneficial effect not only on the development of China itself, but also on the situation around the world.
Turkmenistan is firmly committed to friendship, brotherhood and cooperation with the People’s Republic of China. Two states, two peoples together will continue to confidently follow the path of progress and prosperity. ///TDH, 2 Oct