ASHKHABAD, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- Relations between China and Turkmenistan are becoming strategic with more benefits from ever expanding pragmatic bilateral cooperation, said Chinese Ambassador to Turkmenistan Xiao Qinghua.
China-Turkmenistan relations have made strides since the two countries established diplomatic on January 6, 1992 and they are at their best now thanks to efforts of leaders of both countries, Xiao told Chinese reporters ahead of President Xi Jinping's visit to the Central Asian nation.
The two sides have continuously deepened political mutual trust, consolidated pragmatic cooperation, and actively conducted humanistic exchanges, Xiao said, adding that both countries have felt the tangible benefits for economic development and people's livelihood.
China and Turkmenistan regard each other as sincere friends and important partners of cooperation, support each other's choice of development path in line with national conditions, and respect and treat each other as equals, said the ambassador.
Exchanges and cooperation between the two countries enjoy a good momentum as manifested by frequent exchange of visits at various levels every year, said the ambassador.
On economic and trade cooperation, Xiao said two-way trade exceeded 10 billion U.S. dollars last year, compared to only 4.5 million dollars in 1992 when the two countries forged formal relations.
China has become the largest trade partner of Turkmenistan, while Turkmenistan has become the third largest trade partner of China in the Commonwealth of Independent States, he said. The two countries are each other's largest cooperative partner in natural gas, Xiao said.
He noted that China and Turkmenistan put into operation the world's largest natural gas pipeline in December 2009, which benefited millions of Chinese people.
China and Turkmenistan also maintain close coordination and cooperation in international and regional affairs, Xiao said.
Both countries attach great importance to the vital role of the United Nations and regard the world body as an important platform for regional and international cooperation, he said.
The ambassador said China regards Turkmenistan as a reliable partner and close friend. The two countries have broad prospects of cooperation in various fields in the future, he added.
Friendly relations between China and Turkmenistan are not only in the fundamental interests of the two peoples, but also conducive to peace, stability and development in the region and the world at large, he said.
Xiao said the two countries' relations have yielded fruitful results thanks to high-level exchanges, which have provided a solid political foundation for the smooth and healthy development of bilateral ties.
The development of China-Turkmenistan relations have also benefited from the principles of mutual respect, mutual understanding and mutual trust, as well as complementary advantages and mutually-beneficial and win-win cooperation.
On President Xi's upcoming visit, Xiao said it is of historic significance for strategic cooperation between China and Turkmenistan.
During the visit, Xi is expected to hold in-depth exchange of views with his Turkmen counterpart, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, on bilateral ties and issues of common concern and make a series of important decisions on the future development of the two countries' relations, he said.
The ambassador expressed the belief that Xi's visit will push forward China-Turkmenistan ties into a new period of development.
With the care of the two countries' leaders and through the two sides' unremitting efforts, China-Turkmenistan relations will definitely have a better future, Xiao said.