08/11 14:27

"Global Times": Kyrgyzstan cheers rise in China’s investment

"Global Times": Kyrgyzstan cheers rise in China’s investment

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived in Kyrgyzstan on Wednesday for an official visit. This is his first visit as premier to the country, during which he will attend a summit of the heads of governments of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Bishkek.

China's cooperation with Kyrgyzstan, as well as with other countries of Central Asia, has good prospects. It is aimed at strengthening not only the economic power of countries, but also the rapprochement of the two nations, the restoration of traditional friendship and establishing mutual trust. According to Kyrgyz experts, Li's visit to Bishkek will give new incentives for the implementation of promising projects.

In the current difficult conditions of the world economy, China still remains one of the main trade and economic partners for Kyrgyzstan. A large amount of projects involving China have been realized in the state. China's foreign investment in Kyrgyzstan comprises about 30 percent of the nation's total. Trade turnover between the two states exceeds $1.1 billion.

Due to the rapidly increasing development of China's economic power, its relationships with Central Asian states have drastically grown.

Since 1992, China provided Kyrgyzstan grants amounting to almost 2 billion yuan ($296 million) and loans amounting to more than $2 billion. China's Belt and Road initiative has begun to be implemented in Kyrgyzstan. Infrastructure development projects have begun to be realized involving Chinese investors.

The highway from Urumqi to Bishkek, built by China, operates at full capacity. An alternative North-South road is currently under construction. It will reduce the load on the main highway connecting the south of Kyrgyzstan to the north. China also helped in resolving the critical issue of energy for Kyrgyzstan by constructing a high-voltage power line from the south to north in 2015. This allowed Kyrgyzstan to become independent from its neighbors, through which power lines once passed.

Reconstruction of the main heat-energy center of Bishkek is also taking place with Chinese investment. Private businesses originating in China have been settling in Kyrgyzstan and are gradually strengthening their position. In particular the construction of an oil refinery has reached its completion, and the construction of a new cardboard and paper mill has begun.

According to Kyrgyz Ambassador to China Kanaiym Baktygulova, the two sides are considering the possibility of implementing new projects in economic cooperation, taking into account the implementation of the Chinese Belt and Road initiative and the participation of Kyrgyzstan in the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).

The high level of political trust is reinforced by the 2013 establishment of the strategic partnership and joint declaration signed by the leaders of the two countries, says the ambassador. The transition to a new stage of bilateral cooperation has been commemorated by a series of mutual high-level visits. Chinese President Xi Jinping made a four-day visit to Kyrgyzstan in 2013. Kyrgyzstan's President Almazbek Atambayev in turn visited China in 2015. Kyrgyzstan and China intend to take active measures to expand trade, and optimize the structure and the balanced development of bilateral trade. Particular attention is being paid in regards to expanding and strengthening cooperation in the hydropower, oil and gas fields, as well as in the mining industry.

With China's consistent economic growth and the intensification of economic cooperation with its neighbors, it is projected that China's presence in Central Asia in the sphere of economics will also expand. The most important and promising aspects of bilateral relations lie in the fields of infrastructure, transport and energy, as well as cross-border cooperation with the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

The participation of Kyrgyzstan in the EAEU was an additional advantage for the development of the two countries. Kyrgyzstan could become an important link between China and other countries of the EAEU. This can become possible with the cooperation of Chinese companies with Kyrgyz ones and the implementation of economic projects in Kyrgyzstan.

The two sides are working to identify areas of cooperation in trade and economic fields for the development of integration processes between the EAEU and the Silk Road Economic Belt.

It is noteworthy that the Kyrgyzstan and China cooperation program for the years 2015-2025 states that the parties will cooperate actively following the Belt and Road initiative, aiming at long-term strategies for the development of Kyrgyzstan.

Without a doubt, Kyrgyzstan is in need of attracting Chinese investment. The agreement for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, as well as to establish cooperation with the Silk Road Foundation, was signed in Beijing in 2015. According to official reports, the foundation is ready to consider long-term projects in Kyrgyzstan and to invest in countries of the Silk Road Economic Belt.

Kuban Abdymen, Bishkek

November 3, 2016

The author is Kyrgyz journalist on International issues and the head of national news agency Kabar. 




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