Xi Jinping agrees US$3b in credits for Kyrgyzstan

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 September, 2013, 8:19pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 September, 2013, 8:20pm

China on Wednesday agreed credits worth over three billion dollars for energy projects in its northern neighbour Kyrgyzstan, during a visit by President Xi Jinping aimed at boosting Beijing’s influence in Central Asia.

Xi held talks with Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev on the last leg of a major regional tour that has already taken him to Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

“According to the agreements reached during President Xi’s state visit to Kyrgyzstan, China will disburse over three billion dollars in credits for Kyrgyz projects,” Economy Minister Temir Sariyev said.

He said that US$1.4 billion of credits will go on a 225 kilometre Kyrgyzstan-China gas pipeline that will pump gas originating from energy-rich Turkmenistan to the Chinese city of Kashgar.

The rest of the credit will go on rebuilding a power plant in Bishkek, constructing a new motorway and expanding an oil refinery, he added.

Atambayev said Kyrgyzstan, a resource-poor nation that has been rocked by successive bouts of political unrest after the fall of the Soviet Union, was deeply thankful for Xi’s visit.

“We express our great recognition of the people of China and the country’s leadership for the constant economic and political help, which in our country is also felt.”

He added that Kyrgyzstan supported a Chinese initiative to create a joint economic zone based along the route of the fabled historic Silk Road trade route.

Xi has already signed multi-billion dollar deals on the other stops on his trip, as China ramps up its influence in the ex-Soviet region which was long considered Moscow’s backyard.

He is due to stay in Kyrgyzstan until Friday when he will take part in a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Bishkek due to be attended by world leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rowhani.