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FM: Hu's central Asian trip to work for regional security

    BEIJING, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- China on Wednesday said President Hu Jintao's visit to two central Asian nations would work for the regional security and stability.

    "Hu will pay his first state visit to Tajikistan at the invitation of his Tajik counterpart Emomali Rakhmon, while his visit to Turkmenistan will be the first in 13 years," a senior official of the Foreign Ministry said.

    Slated for Aug. 26 to 30, the visit will "cement China's ties with Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, safeguard central Asian security and stability and promote common development and a harmonious region," he added.

    China-Tajikistan ties have kept a good momentum in recent years. "The two countries have worked more closely on trade, transportation, telecommunications, infrastructure, education, culture and sports."

    China and Tajikistan have carried out fruitful cooperation in cracking down on East Turkistan separatists and the "three evil forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism, as well as fighting drug trafficking.

    He hailed the two countries' close cooperation under the framework of the United Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

    During his stay in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, Hu will hold talks with Rakhmon and sign cooperation deals on politics, economy and trade.

    He will also attend the annual SCO summit in Dushanbe on Aug. 28.

    Founded in 2001, the SCO groups China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The SCO accepted Mongolia as an observer to the organization in 2004 and offered observer status to Pakistan, Iran and India in 2005.

    As for Hu's trip to Turkmenistan, the ministry official said China's ties with Turkmenistan had also progressed rapidly, citing frequent high-level visits, strong political trust and remarkable cooperation in trade, energy, transport and culture.

    In Turkmenistan, Hu will meet with his counterpart Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov and other leaders. They will exchange views on bilateral ties and issues of common concern.

    A package of deals on politics, trade and transport are expected to come out of the meetings.

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