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China, Tajikistan Agree To More Intelligence Exchanges

Chinese President Xi Jinping (right) and Tajik President Emomali Rahmon exchange documents during a signing ceremony in Beijing on August 31.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry says China and Tajikistan agreed to exchange security intelligence as part of an upgrade to diplomatic relations during a state visit by Tajik President Emomali Rahmon to Beijing.

The ministry said in a statement on September 1 that Chinese President Xi Jinping and Rahmon established a "comprehensive strategic partnership" between the neighboring countries.

"Both sides will strengthen communications between defense, security and law enforcement departments and deepen intelligence exchanges," it said.

During their meeting on August 31, Xi and Rahmon also agreed to bolster efforts to combat the threats of terrorism, separatism, and religious extremism, as well as drug trafficking by launching professional intelligence exchanges, the statement said.

China has worked to deepen security cooperation with countries in Central Asia and elsewhere as Beijing’s ambitious plan to rebuild the ancient Silk Road has raised new security concerns for the country and its companies.

The project, dubbed the Belt and Road Initiative, plans to reconnect trade routes from China to Central and South East Asia.

China and Russia are partners in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a security bloc established in 2001 that also includes Tajikistan and other former Soviet republics in Central Asia.

But Beijing and Moscow are vying to hold sway in the region, which Russia has seen as part of its sphere of influence since the Imperial era.

Last year, China agreed to finance and build several outposts for Tajik border guards along the porous Tajik-Afghan frontier.

Rahmon is scheduled to remain in China until September 5 and take part in events related to the September 3-5 summit of the BRICS group of emerging economies -- Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa -- in the southeastern city of Xiamen.

Based on reporting by Reuters, RFE/RL's Tajik Service, and Xinhua