China's official Xinhua news agency says the document foresees China and Turkmenistan cracking down on separatist forces in "East Turkestan." Some Muslim Uighurs -- the majority in China's western Xinjiang province -- are seeking an independent state they call "East Turkestan."
On April 3, Niyazov and Hu signed an agreement on building a gas pipeline linking their countries. Turkmenistan's state newspaper, "Neutralny Turkmenistan," says the pipeline will enter operation in 2009.
Niyazov's six-day visit to China began on April 2.
(AP, Xinhua, Reuters)
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Russia's rising appetite for Central Asian gas is a direct result of the shifting fortunes of Gazprom, the state-run Russian company that controls lucrative exports. The company's total gas production has flatlined at around 550 billion cubic meters (bcm) a year. With major fields yielding less as they age, Gazprom has chosen to maintain its all-important gas balance by purchasing gas on the side -- from independent producers in Russia and from Russia's Central Asian neighbors -- instead of investing in the lengthy and costly development of untapped Arctic fields...(more)